Photographs can have a huge affect on us. They can evoke very strong feelings of nostalgia, admiration, longing, being afraid, happiness and many other. Somehow, they have a magic power over us. We can protect ourself from them by closing our eyes, but if we manage to catch a glimpse of them, they can stick to our “inside eye” and be very difficult to get rid of again. We create stories in our minds or are reminded of distant or recent memories when looking at them. They can be used to portray an identity, and they can reveal our true persona to the world. When we collect them, it’s like we’re collecting memories.
I found these mugshots on the site “The Americans“, and they fascinate me a lot. Because of their “scientific” purpose, they tell us a story before we even see the person portrayed. This can evoke a feeling of danger, because we know they’re taken after the people have been arrested for some crime. I almost feel like I can’t look at the people in the photographs because there’s a change that they’re dangerous, I’m afraid that they’ll look back at me. The odd thing about this strong feeling is that you don’t actually know if these people have commited a crime, and if so, what crime it is. They could have stolen a pack of gum in a shop for all we know.
This feeling of knowing part of the story by just looking them, but not knowing the rest, inspires me.