Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Art and Design
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.
Long, Samantha Rae, "The Mug Shot, Wanted Poster, and Rogues Galleries: The Societial Impact of Criminal Photography in England, France, and the United States From 1839 to 1900." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2017.