“Small Town Noir” – Twenty-One ’30s And ’40s Mugshots From New Castle, Pennsylvania


Jessie Smith left her home in South Carolina before the First World War and spent the next two decades working as a prostitute in New Castle. Her mug shot was taken on 22 February, 1932, after she stole a client’s pocketbook.

When the police department of the once-prosperous small town of New Castle, Pennsylvania, threw out thousands of mid-century mug shots in the late 1990s, a few hundred were saved from destruction by one police officer. The pictures ended up scattered across the world after he sold themon ebay. Continue reading »

“It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”: Stunning Mid-Century Mugshots From The City Of Brotherly Love

Sometimes mugshots look like portraits. In this gallery of faces from 1950 and 1960s Philadelphia, photo collector Mark Michaelson picks mugshots that make us stop, look and keep looking. Continue reading »

“Wilhelm Brasse’ Mugshots”: Photographer Took Up To 50,000 Chilling Photos In Auschwitz For The Nazis During World War II

There were images of living virtual skeletons; of prisoners standing shoulder-to-shoulder in striped uniforms; of people with deformities; of disembowelled victims of purported medical experiments. And there were tens of thousands of prisoner identification photos – three of each inmate. Continue reading »

American Women Mugshots In The 1960s

The police mugshot photograph was developed as early as the mid-nineteenth century, and it has since developed as an iconic photographic type in its own right. Formulaic and recognized the world over, it was developed at a when the Victorian fascination of labelling and categorizing of people was at its height. Remarkably, the mugshot photograph has changed little in 150 years. Continue reading »

Bad Girl Mugshots From Between The 1940s And 1960s

From murderers, thieves and hookers, these are the faces of the many who were captured on camera at the lowest points of their lives. And while many people would say mugshots of the past hold a certain curiosity, one man confesses what started as an initial fascination turned into an obsession. Mark Michaelson has collected more than 10,000 photographs of men and women of all races and ages, taken after their run-ins with the law. Continue reading »

1920s Fashion Through The Lens Of Police Mugshots

Between 1910 and 1930, a series of 2500 ‘special photographs’ were taken by the New South Wales Police Department.

Group of Criminals, Central 1921
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This negative was found wrapped in a paper sleeve on which is written: ‘Group of criminals, Central 1921’. The subjects are not named, but the woman on the left is believed to be Eileen Leigh or Barry (daughter of Kate Leigh). The man on the far right in the back row may be Stephen Doyle, and the man to the left of him Kenneth McLelland (or McCrerrand). The man third from the left in that row may be the pickpocket and three-card trickster known as Frederick Mewson, and the man far left in the front row is likely the pickpocket known as Norman Smith. Continue reading »

Mugshots Of Female Nazi Concentration Camp Guards While Awaiting Trial In 1945

These black and white portraits of the female prison camp guards which were taken after the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen, a Nazi concentration camp, while they were at Celle awaiting trial in 1945.

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Juana Bormann: sentenced to death. Continue reading »