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A mugshot is a photograph usually taken after a person is arrested. The original purpose of the mugshot was for the police to have a photographic record of the person to allow for identification by investigators and victims.

Taking photographs of persons who were arrested began in the 1840's. Alphonse Bertillon standardized the process of taking these photographs in 1888, a process called "bertillonnage". He had mugshots taken of himself as an example of an effective mugshot.

A mugshot, according to the "Bertillon System" includes a side view photo and a front view photo. Mugshots can be compiled into a mug book and are often published in the mass media.

Mugshots are also taken in a non-criminal context. The format is a way to capture facial appearances in a standardized setting to allow for later identification. For example, they are required for a driver's license, passport, security clearance and even yearbooks. A rogue's gallery is a police collection of photographs of criminals and suspects that is kept for identification purposes.


Une photo d'identité judiciaire est un portrait photographique pris après l'arrestation d'une personne. Son but est de permettre aux forces policières de détenir une identification visuelle des personnes arrêtées, ce qui permet aux agents de les présenter aux victimes et aux enquêteurs pour en faciliter l'identification.

La plupart des photos d'identité judiciaire, selon le « système Bertillon » sont en deux parties : une vue de face et une vue de côté.


Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement

On November 4, 2005, the smoking gun published for the first time reproduction of nearly 100 mugshots taken in 1956 by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department during the Montgomery bus boycotts. These represents a photographic roster of heroes that once seemed lost to history. The published collection also contains 11 photos taken during a later Freedom Riders protest.

Newcastle upon Tyne Criminals of the 1930s

This mug shot collection comes from a police identification book believed to be from the 1930s. It was originally found in a junk shop by a member of the public and subsequently donated to Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums. No information is available to confirm which police force compiled it but evidence suggests it's from the Newcastle upon Tyne area.

25 Extremely Notorious Gangsters

From David Pegg, "list25", April 25, 2013:

  1. Pablo Escobar
  2. Griselda Blanco
  3. Jesse James
  4. Al Capone
  5. Billy the Kid (no mugshot found)
  6. Charles "Lucky" Luciano
  7. Enoch "Nucky" Johnson (no mugshot found)
  8. Arnold Rothstein (no mugshot found)
  9. Frank Costello
  10. John Dillinger
  11. Carlo Gambino
  12. Bugsy Siegel
  13. Tony Accardo
  14. James Whitey Bulger
  15. Jacques Mesrine
  16. Meyer Lansky
  17. Vito Genovese
  18. James Burke
  19. Joaquin Guzman
  20. Demetrius Flenory
  21. Kray Brothers
  22. Dawood Ibrahim
  23. James Coonan
  24. Tom Devaney
  25. Jack Diamond