Beautiful Criminals

il_fullxfull.256060908Words by Billie Jenkins 

The initial idea for this article was to find and publish police mugshots of models. I thought it would be an interesting to collect together the photographs of people who have built livelihoods on the premise people will pay to photograph them in a different context from the one we usually encounter them. Turns out however that models are either very behaved, or have very good lawyers (I suspect the second one). I collected instead images of celebrities thinking it would have the same effect,  except it doesn’t because we relate to celebrities as people, so although a picture of Pamela Anderson may be interesting as a way to kill seven internet seconds it doesn’t warrant much more thought.  Admittedly I did think about it for a little longer but those thoughts focused on how nasty cheap her look was in the early nineties. By this point I had spent approximately two hours surfing through hundreds of mugshots covering the disturbed face tattoos of hardened criminals to weeping women. It struck me that the problem with the celebrity pictures were that we are all too familiar with those portrayed, they become uninteresting because what’s fun about mugshots is the legend behind the blank expressions that are implied.  Returning to my earlier thoughts, I collected together the most beautiful women in encountered on  my tour of the mugshot world. It is a little eerie that we know nothing about what brought them to the picture or what came after. I think there is something interesting that beauty like theirs is photographed every day, in every conceivable context, and supports whole industries, yet these are one of those intriguing moments when beauty is captured in an authentic way.





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