Forensic art is any art which is involved in law enforcement or legal proceedings. It can include age progression of a long term missing child or adult, a 2D or 3D facial reconstruction, facial mapping and facial comparison as well as witness interviews.
Why Age Progression?
Firstly and most importantly, they are used in cases of missing persons, when that person has been missing for two or more years and there has been sufficient time for appearances to change. The age progression image normally renews publicity and media interest in a case, therefore the case stays pro-active, supporting families and hopefully finding the person safe.
Criminal Age Enhancing
Secondly, age progressions are produced by or for police to try to locate suspects in criminal cases.
Thirdly, age progressions are often used in the media to illustrate to people the damaging effects of for example, smoking, drinking and sunbathing . Mainly, genetics determine how a person will age, but external factors can really alter the course of the ageing process. For example,
Excessive drinking can dehydrate the skin, dilate blood vessels in the cheeks causing redness, accelerate the ageing process and cause weight gain.
Smoking stops the skin from being able to absorb vital vitamins and minerals and after time, the skin is unable to repair itself as it once did, resulting in a grey, lacklustre palor. Increased wrinkles appear from repetitive squinting of the eyes and puckering of the lips when taking a drag on a cigarette.
A poor diet will result in dehydration of the skin, a lack of vitamins and minerals and excessive sugar intake increases insulin levels which can have a knock on effect of spots or acne.
Child Age Progression
Child Age Progression involves much structural change – it takes into consideration the underlying bone growth and the dentition changes which take place at around 6 -7 years old – these changes continue until at least 18 years of age.
Image produced by Karen T.Taylor, author of Forensic Art
Above is an image by Forensic Artist Karen Taylor which shows that a baby’s cranium is very large compared to the lower part of its skull. As a child develops the growth of the cranium then levels off and the lower part of the face, the nose, cheeks and jaw continue to grow outwards and downwards.
Above are two well known faces, you can see how the area below their eyes has grown in comparison to the eyes and above.
Normally, there is a consistency of appearance throughout life – like when you meet old friends at school reunions, it really is amazing how people just don’t change – it’s more true for some than others but there are always the extreme exceptions.
Age Progressed image of missing person April Fabb – details at www.missingpeople.org.uk