The Sydney Justice and Police Museum recently released a collection of "mug shots" of prisoners taken early in the 20th century. These were sort of experimental shots that some recently arrested criminals agreed to be part of. Steve Meltzer discusses the quality of light used in these shots and the stark differences between our harsh mug shot portraits today contrasted with these diffuse, soft-lit photographs.
Steve Meltzer writes:
Comparing these vintage images to modern mug shots, the differences between the 1920s and the 2010s are striking. From the image of a dismayed and old looking Dominique Strauss-Kahn to a drunk and wasted Nick Nolte, modern mug shots, particularly of the famous, convey the message, “look how far the mighty have fallen.” They are like ancient Greek morality play that reassures us that even the powerful can be brought down by their greed and lust.
Read more at Imaging Resource