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Glowing trail of bloodshed: Photographer uses chemistry trick to uncover hidden traces of domestic violence in chilling murder scene pictures
What happens after police detectives, crime scene investigators and news trucks leave the scene of a murder?
That is the question that Angela Strassheim has set out to answer with her new photo series titled Evidence, which depicts domestic homicide crime scenes in a new light.
Her chilling and thought-provoking images show interior shots of living rooms, bathrooms and kitchens, which had been the settings of deadly confrontations between family members involving guns, knives, and even a pitchfork.
Borrowing techniques from her days as a forensic crime lab technician, the award-winning photographer created the images for the series by applying a phosphorescent blood splatter solution to the rooms to highlight the traces of violent domestic crime.
‘All around me I observe a glowing trail of bloodshed as swaths and constellations of light, helping me put together the pieces of a violent puzzle,’ Strassheim writes in her artist statement.
About half of the pictures in the portfolio depict the exteriors of the crime scenes: a handsome two-story mansion with perfectly trimmed hedges; a neat suburban home with a white picket fence; a cheap motel room and a grey cinderblock apartment complex, among others.
Behind those plain-looking, unassuming façades Strassheim has been able to uncover grisly marks of violence hidden from the naked eye.
The black and white photos create a compelling narrative out of flecks of blood lingering on walls, floors, carpets and dressers shrouded in darkness.
In one striking image, a bedroom wall with a mattress and pillows still in place is seen covered in droplets of blazing white gore, which resemble rain drops on a windowpane.
Miss Strassheim was able to achieve this startling effect by applying ‘BlueStar’ solution to the interiors; the chemical temporarily activates the heme molecule of blood, making it glow long after the blood itself has been cleaned, Wired reported.
The artist chose to title the images of the exteriors with the name of the murders weapon used – shotgun, kitchen knife, scissors — while leaving the rest of the information about each homicide to the viewer’s imagination.
‘As a child, when I would pass by a house where a violent and newsworthy death had recently occurred, I would stand there, close my eyes and try to imagine what took place,’ writes Strassheim.
As part of the project, Strassheim has visited more than 140 crime scenes and talked her way into a variety of homes and motel rooms whose current residents often had no idea about their dwellings’ grisly past.
As Strassheim explains in her statement, her ultimate goal is for people viewing her photos to entertain the possibility that they too can be a victim of violence, or murder a loved one out of jealousy or rage.