Public Domain Images – 1920′s Vintage Mugshots NSWPD Special Photographs

Here is an gallery of public domain images from the New South Wales Police Department that were taken in the 1920′s. This special photograph selection were mostly taken at the Central Police Station, Sydney and compared with the subjects of typical prison mug shots, the subjects of the Special Photographs seem to have been allowed to compose themselves for the camera as they wanted.

These public domain images reveal a lot more than a typical mugshot. The suspects poses look as if they could be from a fashion magazine. Most look disheveled and deranged, but some look very guilty. Their hand in pockets, hats tipped to the side, and their eyes scowling at the camera. They look like movie characters from a Dick Tracey film, with the crime they committed still fresh on their mind.

Major exhibitions featuring these public domain images have travelled widely, including “Crime Scene” and “Femme Fatale” and two books have been produced “City of Shadows” and “Crooks Like Us“by Peter Doyle.

As always these photos are considered public domain images and you can download them and use them for your projects without and licensing fees limitations or restrictions.

21 Comments

    • Thanks Oscar! I’m glad that you like the photos!

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      • Hi Matt – amazing site and thanks for making these images available.

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    • Thanks Daohuozhe! Glad you like!

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  1. Are you certain that these are public domain?

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  2. Great album,that is absolutely rare collection. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  3. amazing pictures! thank you so much for sharing.

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  4. How do you download these with 1 click?

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  5. Hello Matt, Great Pictures! I would like to use them in a project. How I can Download them?
    Thanks for sharing!
    Ana

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  6. Thank you so much for your work here! Stunning images! Will definitely point friends in your direction.

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  7. Wouldn’t you need a model release (depending on whether the people are alive or dead and when they died) to use these in a project?

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  8. Been said before already,but: amazing collection! Thanks a lot for your efforts.

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  9. I came across this collection via Google while looking for vintage photos I could print to use as props in a photo shoot; these are absolutely amazing. You’ve saved my arse, thank you!

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    • That is awesome to hear! So glad that you found us. You are the reason that we built this website. Yay!

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  10. Great photos, thanks for posting them. Do you have any information about where the streetscapes might be of? They look like Sydney, but I’m interested in where exactly.

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    • No problem. They are definitely from New South Wales. Not sure of specifically where though. Good guess though!

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  11. Dare I ask if a collage artist may use these?

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    • Absolutely! Go for it Amandine.

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