Entertainment and fundraising, but it will be remembered as a cultural artifact

In this mugshot, Trump is wearing one of his dark suits, with a red bow tie, and his familiar petulant look, his brows furrowed, and his mouth turned down.

The image is not particularly interesting or noteworthy, except for the gold seal on the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.

The ultimate significance of Trump’s mugshot is still to be realized.

For more than 20 years, I’ve been researching and studying mug shots as well as other forms of identification. My Ph.D. dissertation was on the use of photography for criminal identification. In 2009, I wrote my first book “Capturing The Criminal Image: From Mug Shot to Surveillance Society.”

The public will not fully appreciate the significance of Trump’s mugshot for at least ten years. It is only a piece of entertainment for now. Trump’s opponents and supporters have been waiting and now are using it.

As a historical artifact, the Trump mugshot will be unique. It will mark the first Time that a former president has a photographic record of criminal accusations.

The mugshot will remain a lasting reminder of an especially troubling period in American history long after the trials are over.

A policeman takes a mugshot of an arrested person in a drawing dating from 1850. Getty Images

The 1840s and now

The French police produced the first mugshots in the 1840s using a daguerreotype.

Criminals may try to disguise themselves or use a different name if they are arrested in order to avoid being punished for repeated offenses.

The mugshot combated this deception. Other police departments in the world quickly realized the usefulness of mug shots.

In the late 19th century, the police began to collect photographs of criminals in bound collections, called rogues Galleries. Many of these contained thousands of images of criminals.

The mugshot has been used for more than 150 years and is associated with criminality, or at least suspicion of criminality.

A mugshot does not necessarily mean the person in it has committed a criminal offense, but that there was a reason for police to take them into custody and book them.

This association is further enhanced by the stern expressions of the subjects of the photos and the addition of accessories such as prisoner or identification numbers or height charts in the background.

Paris Hilton, an American model and socialite, poses for a mugshot after being arrested for driving while intoxicated in 2006. Kypros/Getty Images

Different types of mugshots

Trump’s and Rudy Giuliani’s mug shots follow the traditional 19th-century mugshot format, with people looking directly at the camera, usually with a grimace. Mugshots of former Trump associates David Shafer and Jenna Ellis, on the other hand, look more like family pictures, with wide-eyed smiles and teethy grins.

Shafer and Ellis’ mugshots follow the recent trend of celebrities or politicians who have challenged traditional ideas about how mugshots should look.

Justin Bieber, a singer, was arrested in 2014 for drag racing in Miami Beach. His mugshot showed a boyish, innocent smile.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was indicted in 2014 for abuse of authority, smiled with a closed mouth and a full face in his mugshot. It looked like a campaign advertisement.

Paris Hilton, a socialite and former model, also posed in highly stylized poses for the camera on all three occasions she was photographed following her arrest for drug possession or driving under the influence during the mid-2000s.

Frank Sinatra posed for a mugshot after being charged in 1938 with ‘carrying-on with a married women’. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Mugshots influence culture

Mugshots are primarily used as an official police identity record.

When mugshots are made public, they can become part of an ongoing conversation about culture and society. They may also take on new meanings as Time goes by.

Former footballer O.J. O.J. Simpson was charged in 1994 with the murder of his former wife and a friend of hers. He was acquitted. This is one of the most famous examples of how a mugshot can leave a lasting legacy.

In June 1994, the covers of Time, as well as Newsweek, featured Simpson’s mugshot.

Time darkened Simpson’s skin tone to reflect false, racist stereotypes regarding dark skin and its connection with crime. Later, it apologized for this.

The Simpson mugshot is now available as a print, poster, or other commercial product. It also serves as a Case Study in college classes on criminology, media, and communication studies.

Mugshots tap into the fascination of many people with crime and criminal justice. It is, therefore, no surprise to see mugshots in popular culture, especially when they feature famous individuals.

The 1930s mugshots of Al Capone, the mobster, and Frank Sinatra, a singer and songwriter, are still available for sale on many commercial products like shirts and caps.

In a famous 1970 mugshot, the actress Jane Fonda raised her hand after being arrested for drug trafficking. This photo is evidence of her antiwar and feminist activism. Her charges were eventually dropped.

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