15 November 2008

Least Wanted

One of the most fascinating photostreams on Flickr isn’t fashion related; it’s not filled with photos of landscapes or cute animals. It’s Least Wanted’s stream of vintage mugshots. The photos date from the early 1900’s all the way through the 80’s. Some give nothing more than an image of the face while some contain information ranging from age and height to occupations and reasons for arrest. I can get lost for hours digging through this photostream, imagining the stories that go with each of the photos. The crimes listed range from vagrancy and begging to public drunkenness to being a communist to writing bad checks. Recorded occupations run the gamut from fireman to chauffer to divine healer.

The old saying goes “the eyes are the windows of the soul”. Something about the way the mugshots force the subject to look directly into the lens of the camera reveals an intimate look that a normal snapshot doesn’t show. Most casual snapshots are taken of happy moments that you want to capture in order to remember them. In contrast, these are images of people in distress, perhaps angry, sad or scared. Each one tells a story and I think that's the most important thing a photograph can do.

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10 comments:

mothersvea said...

haha I have to check this out immediately! thanks for sharing!

skinnyGLASSESgirl said...

awesome!!! i love stuff like this.

violetville said...

wow this is *amazing*!!

Sally Jane said...

Thanks so much for your comments!

I hope you like this photostream as much as I do. I find it sort of addictive.

SOS! said...

The photos are so artistic, love em!

love first, and live incidentally said...

I luv that your into this. I actually worked on the book and the exhibit for my old boss. They are so great! The book barely scratches the surface of the amazing mugshots he has. I had so much fun archiving all the images that no one ever got to see. Steve and Mark did such an amazing job. I miss working for them!

chloe said...

wow, what a cool link, i love this stuff! the mugshots remind me of bonny & clyde type criminals (you got it so right with your halloween costumes by the way!) i'm surfing on over there right now x

Karafina said...

ooh i love it. these would be great hung up in the house....

Outi said...

Ohh, thank you for posting this, I am intrigued! These are incredibly interesting, I plan to look further into it.

y(a)ppie said...

thank you for the link! these are super!