Peter Doyle seeks to unlock the stories behind this extraordinary collection of police mug shots from the early 20th century.
Around 1910 the New South Wales Police began photographing some of the people who passed through Sydney’s Central and other inner-city police stations.
Peter Doyle has collected around 200 of the pictures here, and they present a remarkable and diverse slice of Sydney life. Doyle calls the photographs ‘informal mug shots’ and they are certainly a far cry from the expressionless police photographs we know today.
Some subjects are natty dressers, others are in their shirtsleeves, some appear to have no criminal record at all. Their expressions range from hard-eyed defiance to cool confidence, from resignation to the verge of tears. …
You can read the complete review in the Newtown Review of Books here. It originally appeared on 24 January 2017.