Regular film cameras existed, polaroid existed, and I checked and Apple released their Digital Camera in 1995. So even for digital photos it would have been possible, at least for season 3 and on...Here you can see the photo quality is decent http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_QuickTake#mediaviewer/File:Quicktake-bild.jpg

So, Why didn't either of them ever bring a camera? I understand that in the case of the main conspiracy arc storyline with visitors, deepthroat, or smoking man they would have caused interference, stolen, or smashed the camera. But episodes like the Aging Ship comes to mind. He could have taken photos of the aged ship, the plaque, himself and Scully.

And I'm not saying that would have made his stories more believable, or substatiated them, but part of the "Investigation" process (in real life) is to document your findings. So why are all of their reports based on hearsay and eye witness accounts?

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    Yes, they could have brought a camera, and decent digital cameras existed that far back. Photoshop and other photo-manipulation techniques have existed for far longer.
    – phantom42
    Jun 9 '14 at 17:12
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    Scully does take pictures during autopsies. So concerns about photo altering aren't the question here. As they start documenting the case, before they have an idea of the situation wouldn't they be shutter bugs? ie; Here's a photo of the house where the alleged attack occurred, here's a photo of where the body was found...etc. Jun 9 '14 at 17:50
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    There are government agencies that can barely deal with office phones, let alone web sites and email, in 2014. You think the odd-cases department of the FBI would have state of the art technology right away?
    – user16696
    Jun 10 '14 at 2:24
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    I might point to Kolchak: The Night Stalker, where he would invariably destroy his camera at the end of every single episode.
    – Broklynite
    Jun 13 '14 at 23:54
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    In real life, the real investigative process never seems to detect the amazing paranormal stuff. But go out alone in the dark, leave your camera at home and don't write anything down until much, much later, and you'll walk right into an alien beach party.
    – Beta
    Feb 15 '15 at 23:11

A lot of times they are picking up where local authorities have given up or run out of leads. In cases like that, the existing police files provide sufficient photographic evidence of the crime scenes when first discovered. Most of the time, coming in late to the investigation, any crime scenes are long since cleaned up or contaminated, so any additional photography would likely not stand up as admissible in court. And yea, while these are not standard investigations that almost never go to court, they still seem to stick fairly close to FBI procedures & attitudes.

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    Good point. However, in most episodes. The local "authorities" prove combative or incompetent. If I were Mulder, after a while I would begin to always do my own documenting...."Trust No One" Jun 10 '14 at 12:32
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    Good point. Seems to me I vaguely recall a couple of times Fox photographing something. I need to watch it again. It's been too long.
    – BBlake
    Jun 10 '14 at 18:10
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    Heh, just re-watched the pilot. Mulder is shown photographing an autopsy Scully is doing.
    – BBlake
    Jun 11 '14 at 11:50
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    And just watched episode 2, Deep Throat. In that one the men in black are seen destroying film from Mulder & Sculley's car, so they do clearly take pictures sometimes, though I don't recall seeing them photograph anything during the episode.
    – BBlake
    Jun 11 '14 at 12:59

A lot of the tension and story in the X-Files is the unbending belief that Mulder has in the cases and, as a counterpoint, the (almost) complete scepticism that Scully shows. Originally Scully was bought in as a scientist to debunk the X-Files thus trashing Mulders work.

Now, in the X-Files universe, we know that a wide range of supernatural and alien phenonmena actually exist and that Mulder believes and Scully remains sceptical.

So, imagine in an early episode, if Mulder had had the foresight to take a still or video camera along with him and then produced irrefutable proof that monsters or aliens actually existed. Scully would no longer be able to question him, Skinner would have a massive case to not only keep the X-Files open but to expand the unit.

This would basically destroy the overarching story line of Mulders 'struggle' to find the truth.

As an aside, and I think an 'in' joke, in the 10th series episode Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster Mulder does have a smart phone with him when they first encounter the 'Were-Monster' and he does record a video of the attack. However, it turns out that the resulting video is completely inconclusive as, instead of concentrating on the filming, he's more interested in staying alive.

Of course, these days, if you were investigating that type of thing, you'd make sure that you had a WiFi connected GoPro on your person at all times streaming live footage to the Lone Gunmen (and a torch with more than a pencil thin beam of light) !

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