Mastering Your Mugshot
  • Self-consciousness, as August Mclaughlin notes in a recent post, will almost invariably show through in your headshots. But there’s a way you can avoid it:

    Don’t try too hard. Use your imagination to drift away during the shoot. In particular, don’t think about the photos during the shoot. This may sound odd, but it helps minimize self-consciousness — a potential awesome-photo wrecker. You know how we love characters with secrets? Have one! Look into the lens with your secret in mind… (source)

    August, a quondam model who writes thrillers, gives us such sage advice here that I thought it would be instructive to see some real-life examples. The following are a few of my favorites:

    This is an actual mugshot of Indiana paint-huffer Kelly Gibson. Here we see a relaxed young man, comfortable in front of the camera, without any trace of self-consciousness. Your secret is safe with me, he seems to be saying.

    The calm, defiant look in Johnny Depp's eye ALMOST seems to be saying "Fuck you!"

    This is an example of how NOT to take a mugshot, an obviously self-conscious Mel Gibson. Poor, poor photo.

    This, on the other hand, taken some four years previous, is an excellent mugshot, a clearly relaxed and UNselfconscious Mel Gibson.

    Vince Vaughn when he still had his edge -- and this mugshot shows it.

    Man-O-War or Secretariat? That same unanswerable question can, I believe, be just as appositely applied to Nick Nolte's and James Brown's mugshots.

    James Brown? Nick Nolte? Unanswerable!

    This was the runner-up:

    Matthew McConaughey, Austin, Texax, circa 1999

    Matthew McConaughey, Austin, Texax, circa 1999

    But the clear winner is exactly whom you’d guess, that deadly handsome man:

    The Thin White Duke: dandy and dapper even in jail

    Speaking of deadly handsome, here’s a gorgeous video you’ve probably never seen, containing a song you’ve probably never heard:

    (Hat tip August.)

About The Author

Ray Harvey

I was born and raised in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. I've worked as a short-order cook, construction laborer, crab fisherman, janitor, bartender, pedi-cab driver, copyeditor, and more. I've written and ghostwritten several published books and articles, but no matter where I've gone or what I've done to earn my living, there's always been literature and learning at the core of my life.

2 Responses and Counting...

  • Averil Dean 05.24.2012

    What, no Lindsay Lohan?

  • Well well well — if it isn’t Averil Dean with her pretty name and her pretty new avatar. My goodness, Ms. Dean, where do you get these provocative images?

    It’s very good to see you. Much better seeing you — any day — than Lindsay Lohan.

    Thank you for dropping by.

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