Saturday, February 20, 2016

Old Mugshots

Police mugshots have their own stylistic conventions that have developed over time. In 1905, some English police had the accused hold a chalkboard with their name and alleged crime—in this case, larceny.

In Australia in the 1920s, the accused was shown in close-up and in a standing pose, with the name written on the negative.

The Australian mugshots seemed more improvisational and less clinical than modern ones. But there's still that sense of defiance, as if to say, "You can catch me, copper, but you can't break me."

Some of the subjects look well dressed, and invite curiosity about their story.

These last four images are from a collection of 1920s mugshots collected in Sydney, Australia by novelist Peter Doyle for a book called Crooks Like Us.
Via First to Know Thanks, Kay.
First photo is from ViralNova
Related post: Happy Old-Time Photos


Bobby La said...

These spivs do have a certain rakish charm, but then I would say that wouldn't I. It's like the police photographer is complicit in the image of themselves and since we are talking old Sydney town here, I'm pretty sure they were. BTW I think that's my grandfather in the bottom one.......

jessle said...

You can also see the police forensic archive here
Really fantastic stuff

Sue said...

I'm just fascinated by how nicely EVERYONE dressed long ago. So sad how things have gotten.
Clothes really DO present an image.

Jean said...

My favorite old mug shots are of Emma Goldman

Anonymous said...

Love these mug shots, typical Aussie crims.
I have an unrelated question here. I've been using gouache in a journal and getting smudging or transfer of colour to the adjacent page. Do you put anything on yours to stop this? Love Gouache in the Wild!

Anonymous said...

Good writing...keep posting dear friend
The Eggsperiment