Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection
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Mug shot of John Walter Ford and Oswald Clive Nash, June 1921, possibly North Sydney Police Station, Sydney.
New South Wales. Police Dept.
Glass plate negative:
police detainees and suspects
Special Photograph no. 407. A week after the photograph was taken the pair, both aged 16, appeared in North Sydney Police Court on break, enter and steal charges, for which they were put on bonds to be of good behaviour for twelve months.
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."
Peter Doyle with Caleb Williams
City of shadows: Sydney police photographs 1912-1948
Historic Houses Trust, 2005, pp.221, 238.
City of Shadows at the Justice & Police Museum, Sydney, November 2005-January 2007.
Justice & Police Museum ; 125
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.