First of the Reenactment scenes in my film. Will begin with the firing of a bullet and the way in which time can be slowed down in order to understand the crucial moments prior to a crime being commited.
I have been quite interesting in Luc Sante’s book “Evidence: NYPD Crime Scene photographs 1914 to 1918.”
During the years of World War I, the New York Police Department experimented with crime scene photography, at a time when the cameras were big and bulky and established procedures for how to take them and what to do with them were rudimentary at best.
Nothing in the reams of photographic documentation I’d sorted through — countless inert pictures of buildings, posed ranks of functionaries, fuzzy views of empty streets devoid of detail — had prepared me for this. Here was a true record of the texture and grain of a lost New York, laid bare by the circumstances of murder. Lives stopped by razor or bullet were frozen by a flash of powder, the lens according these lives their properties — their petticoats and button shoes and calendars and cuspidors and beer bottles and wallpaper.
Most creepy are the pictures taken looking downward, using a camera mounted on a special tripod. The detail in these pictures are astounding — the subjects don’t have to be told to hold still — but the angle they’re photographed at makes them appear to be floating, or ascending, haloed by blood, their clothing opened in an attempt to locate the wounds or seek signs of life.
But equally important are the settings. These photographs, gruesome in places, also capture the cramped apartments of the poor, the pool halls where the city’s residents played and the blind tigers they drank themselves blind in. Some of the shots use a wide angle lens that capture details novelists would give their eyeteeth to acquire: the pictures on the walls, the hat hunt on the gas crossbar, the presence of oil lamps and clocks, the scattering of clothing and food.
Revisiting the Crime Scene
Once again, the password for the video is: prison