See Vintage Australian Mug Shots From The 1920s

Posted by David Ozanich — 18 Mar 2011


The Picture Show has culled together a collection of vintage Australian mug shots from the 1920s which they call "eerily beautiful." They are part of the Forensic Photography Archive at the Justice and Police Museum in Australia.

It goes without saying that these are not like today's mug shots. For one, because unlike today's criminals, many of these people had never before been photographed. Posing for a portrait was kind of a big deal.

There's also the medium: These mug shots are actually 4-by-6-inch glass plate negatives. (Think huge camera with black hood and accordion body.) Today that format is used by fine art photographers who appreciate its tonal depth, texture and balance, and also its moodiness. Back then, though, this was forensics.

By the way, seen above is Harry Leon Crawford who had previously been known as Eugenia Falleni. She had passed as a man since 1899 and even married widow Annie Birkett. When Birkett discovered "Harry" was really a woman she mysteriously disappeared. Her "husband" claimed she had run off with the plumber but later her charred remains were found in a Sydney suburb. Charming story as we head into the weekend, no?

Anyhow, the pictures are really cool. See more here.

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