Crooks like us
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In the s Sydney police began assembling a gallery of the city's most light-fingered, fleet-footed, silver-tongued rogues.
These images resurfaced in the s, long after the original paperwork had been lost. This book offers a glimpse into the lives of these fugitive souls.
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Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Aug 25, Karen rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book is a fascinating compilation of photographs and stories from the 's and 30's or thereabouts in Sydney.
During this period for some reason, police in Sydney Central Station started taking photos of people who passed through.
Many of them are between arrest and charge, and certainly before court or any other proceedings. To go along with the photographs Doyle has, where possible, matched up a little of each person's story - the charge, their ongoing record, or more poignantly - found nothing more about the person whose image becomes even more evocative.
The photographs themselves are simply startling. Stark, frequently surprising, relaxed or guarded, the images of these people are astounding.
Standing or seated, usually in a pair of photos, these images show people in facial close-up and then full-length.
The clarity of these images is remarkable, and the detail they show, from the faces of the subjects, through to their clothes, accessories, their shoes and their expressions is really something to behold.
Many of the photographs are haunting - the past staring the present and future straight in the eye. There are a few odd names that came to mean more in criminal notoriety - Chow Hayes for example, but in the main these are mostly unknown criminals, involved in all sorts of criminal activities.
Conmen, conwomen, thieves, breakers, receivers, perjurers, escapees, pickpockets, drug dealers, drug users, murderers, razor men, tricksters - many of the details of their crimes were tracked down by Doyle - from the sad, and minor through to those starting out on a more dedicated life of crime.
Some of the inscriptions are particularly evocative: Hazel McGuiness, charged alongside her mother who the police referred to as "the vilest creature I have seen in my whole 20 years experience", got the slightly kinder observation of "she had scarcely had a chance in life, raised as she was in an atmosphere of dope and immorality".
Her mother's photograph on one page, the daugher on the following is a particularly poignant juxtaposition. There are also moments of some humour, possible after this long period of time - including some absolutely hilarious defences or attempts at explaining away the inexplicable.
There's also no way you could ever accuse people of political correctness in those days - so many of the nicknames are going to make current-day readers cringe just a little bit.
But what will stay with you is the images of those people - so many of them will have connections reaching forward into the current day, in these faces there is so much stark and real humanity that it's just breathtaking.
The insolence of some, the terror in the eyes of others. The fake bravado, the beautiful and the ugly, the sheer madness, the sly, embarrassed, defiant or distressed, the nonchalant and the frightened.
These images, and the stories of the people that go with them will stay with me for a long-time and I know I will be drawn back to the book over and over again.
It's a simply breathtaking record of a period of time, and a set of people that calls out across the years in a way that is absolutely and utterly mesmerising.
Apr 15, Lyn Haines rated it really liked it. If ever you were looking for a treasure trove of stories Real photos of women, men and children who were wanted for various crimes grace the pages, giving us a tantalising glimpse of the era.
They sit or stand or lie in frames whilst Peter Doyle provides what information he can regarding their lives. Enchanting, If ever you were looking for a treasure trove of stories Enchanting, provocative and disturbing.
Dec 03, Freedom rated it it was amazing. These people look kinda rough. Courtney Cullen rated it it was amazing Mar 02, What are you gawking at?
Picture after dramatic picture of liars, cheats, steal from blind nuns, stab their mother, sell their children-- creeps, bottom feeders, perverts and monsters are transformed by simple police mugshots into gorgeous, haunting, timeless portraits.
Their eyes tell a thousand stories. Hands in pockets, posture proud and erect, hair slicked carefully back, their expressions are defiant, amused.
You can't beat them--in the end, they know they'll win. Almost a hundred years later you're certain these crooks knew things you wish you could learn.
Characters whose lives you'd give a lot to know more about beyond that single, captivating glimpse. At some point the jarring realization hits you that every single person in the book is probably dead now.
But that is one of the wonders of great art--it can resurrect anything and make it so alive again that for a while you can almost hear it breathe.
It arrived in 13 days posted to deliver days, so that was perfect. The pictures are amazing and tastefully done. It's interesting that they're mugshots - they seem to be proud portraits.
For modern crooks, look through the Appendix of 'It Takes a Pillage. Real crooks don't look anything like these pictures. See all 4 reviews.
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