Date of Award

8-8-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Art and Design

First Advisor

Susan Richmond

Second Advisor

Maria Gindhart

Third Advisor

John Decker

Abstract

The mug shot, wanted poster, and rogues gallery are intertwined within the greater category of police and criminal photography. The mug shot is an informal term (taken from English slang for “face”) for a police or booking photograph, taken after a person is arrested. The purpose of which is to allow for identification by victims (if applicable) and investigators, allowing them to have a photographic record of a person. Mug shots encouraged the general public to find differences between themselves and the depicted criminal through observable physical characteristics. The gaze from the audience reinforces the voyeuristic nature from the public observing these photographs creating the concept of “othering.” The photographed criminal in the nineteenth century allowed for individuals to safely enter the world of criminality while maintaining a sense of constructed “normality” within a given society.

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