JF Ptak Science Books Post 1797
These photographs are remarkable capsules of space and time--they hold the mostly-realized fates of their subjects, taken into custody in Sydney for crimes from prostitution to stealing to loitering to bigamy to murder and around and around. The poses are interesting in that there seems to be no unified way of making them, which means that most often the detained person had the opportunity to adopt whatever posed they pleased, given the emotional constraints of their situation. Some are defiant, some at complete ease in front of the camera; others are completely distracted and scared, and embarrassed and guilty. There also doesn't seem to be a segregated point for making the photographs, tough there is a common-looking wall and hallway for some of them. It would be interested to know if the Sydney police were making an editorial statement by placing their subjects in unflattering locations, like standing near a dripping faucet, or amidst trash, or in a garden, or in front of toilets. In any event the range of emotions is remarkable, even for looking through only a few hundred of the more than 100,000 images that are on line here and there from the good folks in Sydney. [The images below all started out their life at Sydney Justice and Police, and then used in parts by the following websites and blogs from which I harvested my selection below,: Retronaut , the Independent,, Live Journal the Daily Mail, and the Historic Houses Front (which also has full-ish records for each photograph). An interesting interpretation of many of the images can be found at SCAN.
Analytically interesting, an interpretative invitation. Apprehensive?
["The Tivoli Theatre in Castlereagh Street was for decades Sydney's most popular variety theatre, famous for, among other things, its barley-clad showgirls. The circumstances behind this photograph may be thus: police are called in to make a report in the aftermath of a fire. They find themselves granted access to one of the most titillating locales in Sydney - the 'Tiv' dressing room. In the ensuing mood of ribald jocularity a policeman is photographed clowning about."--Historic Home Trust.]
Jealousy for Innocence or for not being caught.
Emily Gertrude Hemsworth, criminal record number 657LB, 14 May 1925. Emily Hemsworth killed her three-week-old son but could not remember any details of the murder. She was found not guilty due to insanity. Hemsworth was to be detained in custody until judged fit to return to society - it is unknown if she was ever released. Aged 24