Special Mug Shot Photographs
Images courtesy of the Sydney Living Museums
The Justice & Police Museum in Sydney, Australia has an extraordinary collection of police forensic photography. The collection documents police suspects and criminals and was created between 1910 and the early 1930s.
The photographs were taken inside the prison cells at the Central Police Station in Sydney. They were designated 'special photographs' to distinguish them from the conventional genre of prison mugs shots. Unlike what we expect to see when looking at prison photographs - strictly documentation - these 'special photographs' are unusually intimate. They look to us today like strangely beautiful and compelling portraits.
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