Rina and Ali, the boombastic team at KALW Informant, alerted me to a set of portraits from 1920’s Australia of individuals categorised as criminals.

These are portraits, not mugshots. Luminous, cathartic, full of weight. They’re the pre-August Sander, pre-Richard Avedon, pre-Irving Penn masterpieces of an anonymous police photographer.


The collection is very similar to a set of mugshots from the archives of the Louisiana Division/City Archives in New Orleans.


All images from the Historic Houses Trust website and the New South Wales Police Archives, Sydney.