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Criminal Portraits: Classy Mugshots From The 1920’s

By Anthony Thurston on October 29th 2013


If this collection of mug shots is any indication I think it is safe today that criminals today could learn a thing or two about class from their counterparts during the 1920’s. Instead of these crazed looking meth addicts or psychotic weirdos that seem to fill mug books these days the criminals of the past seemed to have a level of class that has been lost over the years.

I mean seriously, these shots are borderline fashion photography (best dressed criminals i have ever seen). I know the photographic process was a bit more intensive back then, but jeez did they at least get a copy of their new criminal portrait after the shoot was over and the were out of jail? Was there a portrait session included with every felony? Take a look at the collection below.

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I can see it now, Commit a Felony and get a free portrait! They bring you in from the police vehicle, process you, give you a suit, and take you into the studio. There waiting for you is a photographer with his super awesome Canon 5D Mark III — err, I mean 1920 VPK camera.

Then while you are being rushed off to jail the photographer takes your shots into Lightroom where he applies some presets -err, I mean darkroom where he does some chemical magic to create these awesome criminal portraits for you! Photography was expensive back then, whats a few months in jail to pay for it? haha
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Which one was your favorite? I have to admit that I love the style from back then, I find myself wishing I could get away with a wardrobe like that around these days without getting strange looks. haha

As for today’s criminals, well, can we all agree that they could learn some style from these guys? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

[via 9gag]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Wes DeKoninck

    I love the comment on T. Bede’s pic: “This man refused to open his eyes”.

    Great post!

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