Beneath cover-up tattoos: possibilities and limitations of various photographic techniques.

Bibliographic Details
Title: Beneath cover-up tattoos: possibilities and limitations of various photographic techniques.
Authors: Holz F; Institute of Legal Medicine, University Hospital of Frankfurt, Goethe University, Kennedyallee 104, 60596, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. holz@med.uni-frankfurt.de., Birngruber CG; Institute of Legal Medicine, University Hospital, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany., Ramsthaler F; Institute of Legal Medicine, Saarland University, Homburg, Saar, Germany., Verhoff MA; Institute of Legal Medicine, University Hospital of Frankfurt, Goethe University, Kennedyallee 104, 60596, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Source: International journal of legal medicine [Int J Legal Med] 2020 Mar; Vol. 134 (2), pp. 697-701. Date of Electronic Publication: 2019 Jan 31.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Language: English
Journal Info: Publisher: Springer International Country of Publication: Germany NLM ID: 9101456 Publication Model: Print-Electronic Cited Medium: Internet ISSN: 1437-1596 (Electronic) Linking ISSN: 09379827 NLM ISO Abbreviation: Int J Legal Med Subsets: MEDLINE
Imprint Name(s): Original Publication: Heidelberg, FRG : Springer International, c1990-
MeSH Terms: Tattooing*, Photography/*instrumentation , Photography/*methods, Color ; Humans ; Infrared Rays
Abstract: Background: The goal of this study was to investigate the usefulness of various photographic techniques in visualizing previous tattoos under cover-up tattoos.
Material and Methods: Ten volunteers with 11 known cover-up tattoos were examined using different photographic techniques: A Canon EOS 6D full-frame digital single-lens reflex camera used in conjunction with a SB600 off-camera flash system and an extension cord; and a Leica M8 digital imaging system camera in conjunction with two different infrared filters (715 nm and 850 nm) and a Metz CL-45 handle-mount flash. A Lumatec Superlite 400 forensic light source was used along with the Canon EOS 6D as a third system.
Results: The best results for black cover-up tattoos were achieved with the full-frame digital single-lens reflex camera in conjunction with the off-camera flash system and, for colored cover-up tattoos, with IR-photography at a wavelength of 850 nm. The Lumatec Superlite 400 light source did not provide better results for conventional photography than those obtained with flash lighting.
Discussion: In nine out of eleven cover-up tattoos, the previous tattoos could, at least, be partially visualized. The quality of the visualization depended on the color, pattern, density, and quality of the cover-up tattoo as well as on the photographic technique. None of the examined photographic techniques could satisfactorily image the previous tattoo if the cover-up tattoo was large and black, especially not if it was densely inked.
Conclusion: Depending on the color of the cover-up tattoo, a full-frame digital single-lens reflex camera in conjunction with a SB600 off-camera flash system (for black cover-ups) or infrared photography with flash lighting and an 850 nm filter (for colored cover-ups) proved to be the best of the investigated techniques to visualize a previous tattoo under a cover-up tattoo.
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Contributed Indexing: Keywords: Cover-up tattoo; Forensic light source; Forensic photography; IR photography; Identification; Lumatec Superlite 400
Entry Date(s): Date Created: 20190202 Date Completed: 20201118 Latest Revision: 20201118
Update Code: 20210623
DOI: 10.1007/s00414-019-02007-2
PMID: 30706194
Published: 2020 Mar
Database: MEDLINE

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