Nowadays we use cameras, of both the cell phone and surveillance variety, to record crimes. But back when photography was a newfangled technology, the earliest application was merely to document what particular criminals looked like. The mugshot is still alive and well today, but like many things that are nearly 100 years old, the modern-day mugshot is a hell of a lot less classy than its original variant. (Think of Nick Nolte.)
Twisted Sifter came across these astonishing 1920s mugshots collected by Australia's Historic Houses Trust. Compiled by the Sydney Justice & Police Museum, most of the photographs are criminals' headshots side-by-side with a head-to-toe, with the long exposure giving the figures a ghostly quality.
You can't help but be struck by the fashion and etiquette of the time—to order even a criminal to doff his hat was apparently considered ungentlemanly, and although these people were murderers, thieves and rapists, most of them took the time to put on a vest and tie on a tie in the mornings.