Stunning Vintage Photos from Sydney’s Police Museum

Recently, the French photography/arts blog, La boite verte, posted a breathtaking series of vintage photographs of dusty, down-on-their-luck Antipodeans passing reproachfully through their country’s penal system back in the day.

They’re pictures from the Sydney Justice & Police Museum archives. Some of the documented lawbreakers seem sad, ashamed, or a bit mentally unhinged. Other portrait subjects remain defiantly cheerful–  chins up and shoulders back as if to say “So it goes. I do what I have to do.” All of these images are a mule-kick to the heart.

Many more after the jump. Peruse the full series here. Via m1k3y, thanks.

EDIT/ADDENDUM: The original text of this post has been corrected. These are “photographs of commitment” from the Syndey J&P Museum’s archive (1912 – 1964). “The portraits were taken on glass plate negatives and analyzed with high resolution to show the quality of the photograph of the police.” [via]

Related Coilhouse posts:

Was this gent perhaps arrested for cross-dressing? Such a surreal, timeless photo…

9 Responses to “Stunning Vintage Photos from Sydney’s Police Museum”

  1. Tertiary Says:

    These are in gorgeous condition, and beautiful.
    A great many photographs of varied ages have passed through my hands, and rarely were they this well shot, and this well preserved.

    They must have had a very skilled photographer.

  2. Chris Furniss Says:

    My god, these are beautiful. Number 11! Holy crap!

  3. sxip shirey Says:

    WOW all I can say is…WOW

  4. Alysa Says:

    Wow, these are amazing and powerful. Thanks for posting them!!!

  5. Ana Says:

    some of these have some incredible stories behind them, such as this lady:
    who passed as a man for nearly 20 years, married twice, and was arrested on suspicion of murdering the first wife.

    thanks for sharing these, they are stunning!

  6. Meredith Yayanos Says:

    @Ana Oh wow, that’s an incredible find. Thank YOU.

  7. Required Reading — The Blog of Photographer Luke Copping Says:

    […] Gorgeous vintage photography from the Sydney Police Museum Share and Enjoy:FacebookTwitterLinkedInDiggStumbleUpondel.icio.usRedditGoogle […]

  8. M Says:

    According to the original archive site the guy in the skirt is listed thusly:

    Back view of man (presumably a detective) in a tulle skirt behind a stage curtain. Found in an envelope marked ‘Tivoli dressing room fire, 1945’.

  9. Stephen Woods Says:

    These photos were published a few years ago in a fantastic book, City of Shadows.