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Mug shot: "Group of Criminals Central 1921" 11 men and 2 women.
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Title:
Mug shot inscribed "Group of Criminals Central 1921", ca.1921, details unknown. Central Police Station, Sydney
Creator:
New South Wales. Police Dept.
Date:
[1921]
Format:
Glass plate negative;
Inscription:
Emulsion side:
Subject:
Description:
Unnumbered Special Photograph. 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.
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.184-185, 235. Peter Doyle Crooks like us Historic Houses Trust of NSW, 2009, p 32-33.
Exhibited in:
City of Shadows at the Justice & Police Museum, Sydney, November 2005-January 2007.
Source:
Justice & Police Museum ; 112
Rights:
You may save or print this image for research and study. If you wish to use it for any other purposes, you must contact Sydney Living Museums to request permission.
Material Type:
Picture
Record number:
31298