These pictures are amazing. They're mugshots of Australian criminals, taken just after they had been arrested. It looks like there must have been some sort of practical reason for composing the photos this way, I have no idea, but the compositions and the candid feel of the pictures create some very compelling images.
The description below is from this article, which gives more details on the photographs.
"The Sydney Justice and Police Museum holds a collection of about 2500 “special photographs” that were taken by the New South Wales Police Department between the years of 1910 and 1930.
The forensic crime negatives were rescued from a flooded warehouse in the 1980s by the Historic Houses Trust, and later relocated to the Sydney Justice and Police Museum.
Author Peter Doyle took the collection in his hands and spent three years researching the undocumented files trying to uncover the grim and chaotic storyline of the folks in the photographs."
Originally saw this on the fox is black and had to repost it here. Apparently the creative directors at Ralph Lauren's RRL brand saw the pictures too and have been using the same sort of imagery to promote the vintage-y brand.