Occasionally, a debate erupts among Forensic Artists about whether or not to use photo references during a composite interview. While there are many good points to be made on either side of the argument, my position has always been to use the method that works best for your eyewitness.
A majority of Forensic Artists have been trained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Years ago the F.B.I. adopted a method for cataloging facial features pioneered by French criminologist Alfonse Bertillion. This led to them to develop an interview method that combines the cognitive interview with the use of photo references. They published the F.B.I Facial Identification Catalog as a resource tool that’s supplied to students who attend their Facial Composite Course. Others who teach their own courses have borrowed the F.B.I.’s method for creating facial composites, making it a standard practice among Forensic Artists.