Founder, at UNIL, of the first school of scientific police in the world in 1909, the criminal lawyer, Rodolphe Archibald Reiss (1875-1929) put his mastery of chemistry and photography at the service of his science, developing shooting photography techniques that are still used today.
In collaboration with the UNIL’s School of Criminal Sciences, the Swiss Camera Museum in Vevey is devoting an exhibition detailing his photographic methods applied to crime scenes, counterfeit banknotes, murderers’ weapons, burglars’ tools, tattoos or fingerprints.
Taking advantage of his scientific knowledge, the criminalist-photographer managed to clearly reveal latent traces or traces barely observable to the naked eye. He used a variety of processes: color filters, direct, grazing or reflected light, special darkroom development processes, microscopes, photographic equipment designed according to his own recommendations. Reiss made the invisible visible for one purpose: to help manifest the truth through the systematic study of material traces.
A collaboration of the Swiss Camera Museum and UNIL
The exhibition originates from a desire of the University of Lausanne: to make its institutional heritage accessible to as many people as possible. After several years of work, the photographic collection of Rodolphe Archibald Reiss has been completely inventoried and digitized by the UNIL information resources and archives service (UNIRIS). It is now integrated into the UNIL digital collections portal, offering free access to a unique heritage.
A large scientific mediation program
Several mediation activities intended for adults, children and families and schoolchildren are offered in partnership with L’essaitte, the UNIL’s Sciences and Society Laboratory. A rich program is to be discovered throughout the duration of the exhibition, including interactive workshops, an enigma to be solved in the museum as well as meetings with experts in criminal sciences.
In the footsteps of Rodolphe A. Reiss
January 26 – August 20, 2023
Musée suisse de l’appareil photographique
Grande Place 99, 1800 Vevey, Switzerland