mug shots

Many of the faces on these pages are among the most pampered by the photographer's art.

We have seen them posed and photographed with every attention to beauty and style. Now look at them. Here they are, the guilty and the innocent, charged with crimes ranging from drunk driving to manslaughter. Shorn of styling, they are presented simply as exhibits. By George Seminara

Name: Dudley Moore Arrest: March 21, 1994 Location: Marina Del Rey, California Charge: Suspicion of domestic violence on a cohabitant Incident: Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh

Name: Dudley Moore Arrest: March 21, 1994 Location: Marina Del Rey, California Charge: Suspicion of domestic violence on a cohabitant Incident: Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh

Name: Dudley Moore Arrest: March 21, 1994 Location: Marina Del Rey, California Charge: Suspicion of domestic violence on a cohabitant Incident: Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh

Name: Dudley Moore Arrest: March 21, 1994 Location: Marina Del Rey, California Charge: Suspicion of domestic violence on a cohabitant Incident: Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh

Name: Al Pacino Arrested: 7 January, 1961 Location: Carrying a concealed weapon (.38 calibre pistol)

No record exists as to whether the star of the 'Godfather' films was ever prosecuted or convicted of the crime

Name: Zsa Zsa Gabor Arrested: 14 June, 1994 Charge: Battery against an officer; disobeying an officer; driving without a registration or licence; driving with an open container of alcohol

The celebrity served 72 hours in jail

Name: Christian Slater Arrested: 23 December, 1994 Charge: Criminal possession of a

weapon (7.65 Beretta semi-automatic) After plea-bargaining, the charge was reduced and the star was sentenced to three days of community service

Name: Axl Rose Arrest: 17 July, 1992 Charge: Four misdemeanour assaults; property damage Sixty-five were injured in a riot when the singer stormed off stage after fighting a biker

Name: Dudley Moore Arrest: March 21, 1994 Location: Marina Del Rey, California Charge: Suspicion of domestic violence on a cohabitant Incident: Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh

Name: Dudley Moore Arrest: March 21, 1994 Location: Marina Del Rey, California Charge: Suspicion of domestic violence on a cohabitant Incident: Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh

Name: Dudley Moore Arrest: March 21, 1994 Location: Marina Del Rey, California Charge: Suspicion of domestic violence on a cohabitant Incident: Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh

Name: Dudley Moore Arrest: March 21, 1994 Location: Marina Del Rey, California Charge: Suspicion of domestic violence on a cohabitant Incident: Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh

Name: Keanu Reeves Arrested: 5 May, 1993

Charge: Drunk driving

It is said that after seeing this mug shot, Reeves was reminded of his father, serving a 10-year sentence on drug charges

Name: Dennis Hopper Arrested: 2 July, 1975 Charge: Reckless driving; failure to report an accident; leaving the scene of an accident; evading police officers Hopper was identified by an eye- witness and arrested at his home

Name: Jane Fonda Arrested: 3 November, 1970 Charge: Assault and battery Following a scuffle, Fonda was found to be carrying 102 vials of drugs including dexedrine. They were all later found to be legally prescribed

Name: Dudley Moore Arrest: March 21, 1994 Location: Marina Del Rey, California Charge: Suspicion of domestic violence on a cohabitant Incident: Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh

Name: Dudley Moore Arrest: March 21, 1994 Location: Marina Del Rey, California Charge: Suspicion of domestic violence on a cohabitant Incident: Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh

Name: Dudley Moore Arrest: March 21, 1994 Location: Marina Del Rey, California Charge: Suspicion of domestic violence on a cohabitant Incident: Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh

Name: Dudley Moore Arrest: March 21, 1994 Location: Marina Del Rey, California Charge: Suspicion of domestic violence on a cohabitant Incident: Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh Blaahh

Under the British legal system of fair play, photographs of criminal suspects are released to the press only at the end of a trial or when the authorities think it to be in the public interest. In America, however, with its Freedom of Information Act, the mug shot has become part of the iconography of criminal lore. There, the taking of photographs for use in criminal investigations is almost as old as photography itself.

Typically, in the late 1800s, law-enforcement agencies hired a local photographer to take a portrait of a lawbreaker. In most cases, the hired photographer would bring costumes and dress up the subject. Thus very often in early mug shots and wanted posters, the picture would depict a much more refined person than the one the police actually had in custody.

When photography was in its infancy, portrait photographers tried to create an artistic image, a fantasy, that would make for a memorable artistic image. Today, having one's portrait made in a photo studio in an amusement park is as close as one can get to the feel of these early days of crime photography. A person enters, puts on a costume and has his picture taken. One of the only photographs of Billy the Kid is a picture of this type. The full-length image is that of a young man, his hat at a jaunty angle, leaning on his rifle in a rakish pose. It was obviously arranged by the photographer, who was trying harder to get a good shot than a good likeness.

A notable case from mug shot lore was Charles Julius Guiteau, the man who killed the American President James Garfield. He shot the President because he had not received a hoped-for appointment as ambassador to France. Just 16 years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Guiteau managed to stalk the President openly for months. At one point, he was caught roaming the halls of the White House, where he was ejected by Chester A. Arthur, the Vice-President. Guiteau finally met up with President Garfield on a train platform and shot him in the back. The President died two months later. The assassin became the talk of the country - a celebrity, if you will - as much for his quirky behaviour as for the crime he committed.

The police allowed people to view Guiteau in his cell, where he would strut back and forth like a rooster behind the bars. He quickly turned a very serious charge into a show. During his trial, the press printed many of his statements and had artists depict the goings-on inside and outside of court and in jail. Guiteau had many reproductions made of his own mug shots, which he autographed and sold to raise money for his defence. Guiteau even represented himself at his trial. He claimed God told him to kill the President. He cursed the prosecutor and referred to the jury as "consummate jackasses". He insulted virtually everyone with whom he came in contact on his way to the gallows.

The mug shot changed dramatically with the arrival of Alphonse Bertillion's anthropometry in 1882. Bertillion was head of the Criminal Identification Bureau at the Paris Police Department. He felt that no two people could look exactly alike, and that with careful measurements of various body parts - diameter of head, length of right ear, distance of arms outstretched, the size of the little finger, as well as standing and sitting height - a flawless identification could be made. In 1882, the Bertillion method successfully identified almost 50 criminals who had given false names. Over the next 20 years, the Bertillion identification method grew in popularity and success.

During this time, police departments in America started taking pictures of both the front and profile of their subjects. This was to further aid in identifying the offender and to provide a reference for the Bertillion measurements. On the back of each mug shot was a chart where the arresting officer could fill in these measurements. The Bertillion method wavered when, in the United States, two convicted felons shared identical Bertillion charts. They were later differentiated by a new style of criminal identification: fingerprinting. Because of its greater accuracy, this technique rapidly became the basic means of identifying felons.

The concept of fingerprinting dates back to 12th-century China. It entered the modern era when Sir Francis Galton's fingerprint classification techniques were adopted, in 1894, by Scotland Yard. Although it is not impossible that two individuals can have the same fingerprint patterns, fingerprint experts rate the possibility to be one in 64 billion.

Another change in police procedure occurred when police departments began to hire their own photographers. These people took photographs of suspects as well as crime scenes. Their intention was to record the subject realistically without any of their predecessors' art direction. These photographs were cold and hard. The modern police photographer takes a basic "Just the facts, ma'am" approach to the subjects. These photographs capture attention by their sheer bluntness. It is the work of these nameless police officers that made such an emotional impact in high-profile cases such as the 0J Simpson trial.

But the tools of recording images by police departments are changing. While some rely on the standard film camera with ID board and height chart, many American agencies have switched to computer-imaging systems, which are considered more accurate and, therefore, no longer require the profile shot. The computer system makes it easier to maintain records by saving everything in computer files, reducing storage space. It also eliminates the need for a darkroom. And, finally, it reduces the cost of making photographic copies by using low-priced computer printers.

@ George Seminara. 'Mug Shots: Celebrities Under Arrest' is published by St Martin's Griffin in New York.

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