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January 4, 2012 / bonniesavage

Gangster Photography

I found these amazing images recently that really got me excited. They were taken by the NSW forensic police in the 1920s and are essentially mug shots of gangsters photographed in the police station or the jail.

NSW gangsters mug shots in jail in the 1920's

Taken in the day where every type of photography was an art form, before there were point and shoot cameras and photography was easily accessible to the general public, these carefully framed black and white images are just fantastic.

Ralph Lauren has purchased the rights to use these images as part of their ad campaigns. No tracksuit pants or hoodies on these guys…

well dressed 1920's gangster in jail

I’m fascinated by the composition of these and where the photographer has chosen to place the subject within the frame. The detail that the large format camera has produced is also really lovely.

Sidney Kelly circa 1920's

Gangsters in Jail in Australia in the 1920's

Some police photographer put a lot of effort into creating these images and I bet no one appreciated it back in the day!

You can see more examples from this collection on The Age newspaper’s website.

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