Entertainment

Smooth Criminals: Vintage Mugshots of Dapper Murderers, Thieves and Other Perps

Once upon a time, apparently even street thugs had a sense of occasion. A quick Google image search of men like Al Capone, Pretty Boy Floyd or John Dillinger will show you well-dressed criminals who brought a sense of flair to their nefarious affairs. Nowadays, even criminals have fallen into the style dumpster. John Gotti, Jr., frumped out in his soft hoodies and sweats, was a long fall from his father, who was referred to as “The Dapper Don.” (Though as illustrated by the final chapters of their lives, ostentatious showmanship in the criminal world attracts costly attention.)

Photograph by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum
Photograph by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum

The website Twisted Sifter recently published an amazing collection of vintage mugshots from the 1920s from The Justice & Police Museum in Sydney, Australia.

With photography technology where it was at the time, in order to capture an accurate image of the criminal, a little effort was required with composition and lighting to accurately represent the subject. The results were often quite artistic, showing handsomely dressed and groomed villains who look like employees of a hip haberdashery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Not all modern day gangsters have frumped out in the sartorial equivalent of a Snuggie, though. There is still a class of criminal that puts effort into the suit and tie. We just call them bank executives.

See a collection of 30 vintage mugshots from the 1920s on Twisted Sifter.

More mugshots…

Photograph by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum
Photograph by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum
Photograph by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum
Photograph by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum
Photograph by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum
Photograph by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum
Photograph by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum
Photograph by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum
Photograph by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum
Photograph by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum
Photograph by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum
Photograph by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum
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