These Riveting 1920s Mugshots Are Way Cooler Than Mugshots Today

Mugshots are forever. In this day and age, stupidity can often lead to a lifetime of infamy on the internet. But it goes without saying that these mugshots from the 1920s are not like the typical ones we see today.

Seriously, the photos speak for themselves.

For one, the criminals pictured probably never had their photograph taken. So, posing for such a portrait was kind of a big deal, even if they were being apprehended in the process. Second, the medium in which these mugshots were captured is timeless — preserved on a 4-by-6-inch glass plate negative.

Curator and novelist Peter Doyle has spent about 20 years working with this collection, which includes crime scenes and other police-related documents from Sydney’s chilling 20th century underworld. Doyle spent years digging through police and court records and old newspaper files to match the names on the images. His book, titled Crooks Like Us, showcases these spellbinding stories.

“It’s kind of like photographic Pompeii,” he says. “I’ve never seen photos like this. Particularly for that period of time, and that’s the big mystery.”

In fact, when the photos were discovered in 1989, the only information that existed was scratched onto the images.

Check out these mugshots from the 1920s, then check out the book Crooks Like Us for more info.