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LAPD releases haunting crime scene photos from its archives

Images are all chalk outlines and bullet holes
  • @christophhooton

The City Records Center in downtown Los Angeles is home to 47,500 square feet of cardboard crates filled with 150 years' worth of city documents.

*Warning - graphic images*

Amid reams of paperwork lies a vast collection of photographs taken by Los Angeles police officers and criminologists, many of which come from the Special Investigations Division which was set up in the 1920s.

It is estimated that there are over a million images stored in the archives, but when the Fire Department proposed to destroy many of them as they posed a fire hazard, photographer Merrick Morton spent hundreds of hours sifting through them in order to preserve those that were still salvageable.

He found a wealth of eerie photos that show a darker side to LA, many of which looks like they could be stills from film noir.

Around 50 of the images saved will now be put on show for Paris Photo Los Angeles at Paramount Studios, with the event's director Julien Frydman commenting: "The images remind us of film noir or even contemporary film stills, but what is represented in the photos are snapshots of real happenings, and not mise-en-scène."

All of the images were hand-printed from the original negatives and are available for purchase on the Fototeka website.