I have been attracted to mugshots for a long time. I photographed my friends in 1971. In the mid seventies I worked as a graphic artist for the Rochester Police Department where I made flyers with real mugshots. And then in the late nineties with an early digital camera I photographed everyone in the Bug Jar on a Friday evening. Since then I have painted my faces from the local Crimestoppers page in our newspaper.
BLOOMINGTON MUGSHOTS 1971
In 1971 I posed six of my friends and me for mugshots with my Kodak Instamatic camera. These six 1971 Bloomington Mugshots were shown in the 2017 Rochester Biennial, “Witness – Paul Dodd Leo Dodd” at Rochester Contemporary Art Center.
BUG JAR MUG SHOTS 1998
Our band, Margaret Explosion, played a Friday Happy Hour gig at the Bug Jar for two years. Casey, the owner and bartender, brought in vegetarian food from the India House and Rolling Rock beer was a dollar a bottle.
One night, before the band began, I set up a stool, a light and a white canvas background in the back room. I invited whoever was there to sit for a photo. I remember not calling it a “mugshot” so that aspect wasn’t overplayed, but the setting dictated the pose.
I was using a one megapixel Kodak DC210 camera that my father bought at the Kodak Employee Camera Shop. I brought home about thirty photos that night and took them into PhotoShop where I converted them into black & white bitmap photos with a pronounced dot pattern. I created Quark documents to scale and printed tiled 8 1/2 x 11 pages on our laser printer. These prints were shown in the Bug Jar a few months later in 1998. The ten below were shown again in the 2017 Rochester Biennial at Rochester Contemporary, a show called Witness.