Weekly Writing: Mug shots

By Midge Raymond,

  Filed under: On Writing, Writing prompts

I recently discovered this archive of Australian mug shots from the early twentieth century (via Very Short List) and found them quite riveting: These aren’t your standard boring mug shots but rather works of art. Many of them are full-body poses, and in them the alleged criminals are wearing their hats and coats, their jewelry and furs. They’re men and women, young and old, some looking despondent and some outright jolly. In one photo, a woman poses with her eyes closed, looking almost serene; in another, a man’s scarred face faces directly into the camera. And nearly all of them have very interesting hair.

So here’s this week’s writing exercise:

Choose one of these mug shots, and write a story, essay, or poem about the person you see in the photo.


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