Tag Archives: Crime

40 Candid Mugshots of Dapper Criminals from the 1920s




Between 1910 and 1930, a series of 2500 ‘special photographs’ were taken by the New South Wales Police Department. As curator Peter Doyle of the Justice & Police Museum in Sydney explains:

These ‘special photographs’ were mostly taken in the cells at the Central Police Station in Sydney and are of men and women recently plucked from the street, often still animated by the dramas surrounding their ‘apprehension’. Compared with the subjects of prison mug shots, the subjects of the special photographs seem to have been allowed – perhaps invited – to position and compose themselves for the camera as they liked. Their photographic identity thus seems constructed out of a potent alchemy of inborn disposition, personal history, learned habits and idiosyncrasies, chosen personal style (haircut, clothing, accessories) and physical characteristics.


The Sifter first featured images from this fascinating collection back in May 2011 and again in September…

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