Mark Michaelson is a New York editorial art director who has worked for Newsweek, Allure, New York, Entertainment Weekly, and Radar. Since the mid 90s he has been collecting old mug shots, posting some of more interesting on the ‘Least Wanted‘ Flickr account.
There are no back stories to the photos, only an odd assortment of tired, unhappy looking faces. Michaelson allows visitors to post their own thoughts on what brought the photo’s subject to appear in this unfortunate photo. In 2009, a small part of the 10,000 mugshots in his collection were published as ‘Least Wanted: A Century of American Mugshots‘. More recently the photos have been used in gallery shows and a soon to be released documentary.
To promote ‘Copper’, a period drama set in New York City in 1864, BBC America has launched ‘Mugshot Yourself‘, an application using a selection of Michaelson’s photos. Visitors upload their own photo, select a mugshot, and the application combines create an image of what they may have looked like as a 19th century criminal.