The Mugshot: Cruel and Unusual Style

The mugshot (and especially the celebrity mugshot) has become such a canonized aspect of the American consciousness that, at least to me, it transcends both originality and cliche. What I mean by that is: Mugshots are instantly recognizable and in a sense, unoriginal – however, they remain stylized in such a way that the viewer’s instant recognition classicizes the mugshot aesthetic. (Really, the same goes for anything “classic,” and I use that term tightly, as it seems to have been applied pretty loosely to things in the past). Anyway, I feel like featuring my favorite mugshots is an easy road to take, but a necessary one nonetheless.

So, once one acknowledges these preconceptions, I think mugshots can be a fascinating window into an individual’s naked personality. They reveal people at their most vulnerable – and it’s interesting to interpret how composed/distraught/stylish/smug/embarrassed/empowered/coy a person truly is at a given moment, (that is, if you subscribe to the theory of mugshots as a vehicle of personality deconstruction). To that end, here is a sampling of my favorite mugshots (celebrity, stylish and unknown, hat-adorned, and full body – none of which are mutually exclusive) that I’ve culled from the internet over the past few weeks.

Celebrity:

emmagoldmanmugshotEmma Goldman

PD*29499642Jerry Rosenberg

BE047388Malcolm X

McQueenSteveSteve McQueen

Unknowns:

Picture 1

Picture 12

Picture 13

Picture 4

Picture 7

Picture 2

Hats:

Picture 8

Picture 14

Picture 5

Picture 9

Picture 6

Full Body:

Picture 2

Picture 1

Also, check out some of the new campaign photos for Levi’s, which feature some penetentary-themed shots (though not shot very well, in my opinion). Via DR&DR.

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9 Comments

Filed under Advertising, Apparel, Literature, Media, Photography

9 responses to “The Mugshot: Cruel and Unusual Style

  1. these are actually very fascinating. i enjoyed this a lot, thank you

  2. getdancey

    Where did you find the pictures? Really interesting post. Nice thoughts, nice pictures.

  3. laura.bryan

    i really enjoy this. brilliant.
    =] i like seeing through other’s eyes every now and then.

  4. amandathiessen

    nice post.

  5. I really enjoyed this. Very interesting and I can totally see Steve McQueen peacing on the cops too. Awesome, haha!

  6. keithedwardiii

    My favorite is the Philadelphia woman with her gaze averted.

  7. loving the blonde from minneapolis

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