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Mug shot of Elsie Hall, Dulcie Morgan, Jean Taylor, precise date unknown, but ca.1920, Central Police Station, Sydney.
New South Wales. Police Dept.
Glass plate negative:
Emulsion side:
Special Photograph n0. 183. The names inscribed here do not appear in police records for 1920-21, and it is likely the women were photographed simply because they were found in the company of known criminals (see 'Mug shot of Thomas Maria, Arthur Wyatt, and Patrick Dangar, alias Brosnan.') A copy of this photograph has been sighted elsewhere in police archives, in which the figure here labelled 'D Morgan' is additionally annotated 'lives with Paddy Brosnan'.
This picture is one of a series of around 2500 "special photographs" taken by New South Wales Police Department photographers between 1910 and 1930. These "special photographs" were mostly taken in the cells at the Central Police Station, Sydney and are, as curator Peter Doyle explains, of "men and women recently plucked from the street, often still animated by the dramas surrounding their apprehension". Doyle suggests that, compared with the subjects of prison mug shots, "the subjects of the Special Photographs seem to have been allowed - perhaps invited - to position and compose themselves for the camera as they liked. Their photographic identity thus seems constructed out of a potent alchemy of inborn disposition, personal history, learned habits and idiosyncrasies, chosen personal style (haircut, clothing, accessories) and physical characteristics."
Published in:
Peter Doyle with Caleb Williams City of shadows: Sydney police photographs 1912-1948 Historic Houses Trust, 2005, pp.51, 230.
Exhibited in:
City of Shadows at the Justice & Police Museum, Sydney, November 2005-January 2007.
Justice & Police Museum ; 051
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