Burden of Proof
Burden of Proof: The Construction of Visual Evidence
2 Oct 2015 - 10 Jan 2016
Rodolphe A. Reiss, Demonstration of the Bertillon metric photography system © R. A. Reis Courtesy of
Richard Helmer’s face/skull Mengele superimposition 1985 © Photo Richard Helmer Courtesy Maja Helmer, 1985
Murder of Monsieur Canon, boulevard de Clichy, 9 December 1914 © Archives de la Préfecture de police de Paris. Courtesy of Préfecture de police de Paris, Service de l’Identité judiciaire.
Marfa Ilinitchna Riazantseva, 1937 © Archives centrales FSB et Archives nationales de la Fédération de Russie GARF, Moscou
Le Saint Suaire de Turin, negative image. Enlargements by Paul Vignon from photographs taken by Giuseppe Enrie (1931-1933) © Institut Catholique in Paris
Grace A-South, Koreme, North of Iraq, June 1992 © Susan Meiselas, Magnum Photos
Photography extract from Decoding video testimony, Miranshah, Pakistan, March 30, 2012 © Forensic Architecture in collaboration with SITU Research
A forensic delineation of how photography has been used as evidence of war crimes and acts of violence…present(s) a catalogue of destruction on a scale that even oral testimony cannot hope to equal…haunting.
Sean O' Hagan, The Guardian
Intriguing...deliciously macabre The Spectator
Burden of Proof: The Construction of Visual Evidence examines the way photographic images have been harnessed as evidence in instances of crimes or acts of violence suffered by individuals or groups.
The use of photography as factual evidence in the courtroom became an essential tool in the service of justice from the late 1800s. Over the following century however, the reliability of photographic ‘facts’ were ardently debated, sometimes legitimately contested and often contradicted.
The exhibition presents eleven case studies spanning the period from the invention of ‘metric’ photography of crime scenes in the 19th century to the reconstruction of a drone attack in Pakistan in 2012 using digital and satellite technologies. These offer an analysis of the historical and geopolitical contexts in which the images appeared, as well as their purpose, production process and dissemination.
This exhibition contains images that some viewers might find disturbing.
For more information about the exhibition here is a downloadable guide
For a different perspective on this exhibition read our new publication Loose Associations available from our Bookshop
Find out about the exhibition’s accompanying Talks & Events programme in our Whats On
The exhibition has an accompanying catalogue Images of Conviction: The Construction of Visual Evidence, £38.50. Available from our Online Bookshop.
Free entry – before 12:00
Exhibition Day Pass – £3/£2.50 Concs
Advance Booking Online – £2.50/£2.00 Concs
The exhibition has been co-produced by LE BAL, in Paris, The Photographers’ Gallery, in London and the Nederlands Fotomuseum, in Rotterdam.