The production and dissemination of mug shots is part of the process of manufacturing otherness. '. People who become enmeshed in the criminal justice system, regardless of their crime, or the potentially arbitrary nature of the law they are accused of breaking, are ostracized and demonized by society. The mug shot contributes to the process of demonization and otherness. Arrest photos are part of the public record which is necessary for the identification of individuals who must be extricated from society, enabling us to distance ourselves from individuals who represent aspects of ourselves we would rather not recognize or circumstances we fear like poverty or addiction.
Originally I was drawn to the mug shots because of the unmediated rawness and immediacy of the images. They are the opposite of the photoshopped images that proliferate on TV, in magazines and on social media. Although arrest photos are published in newspapers, posted online and broadcast on television, the individuals are not seen, they are not recognized as the same as us, they become a category, members of an underclass, and if they are charged, tried and found guilty they are quite literally hidden from view. .