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Title: The criminal subject : Alphonse Bertillon and Francis Galton : their aesthetics and their legacies
Author: Francis, Melanie Sarah Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 2379
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis applies aesthetic language to a variety of practices associated with the production and analysis of criminal identification portraits. Much of what might seem to be standardised in this model of portraiture was influenced by abstract visual techniques that were developed in the late nineteenth century, specifically in the work of Alphonse Bertillon and Francis Galton, which frequently moves away from the judicial, into the experimental. Structured theoretically as opposed to chronologically, this thesis provides a thorough examination of the components - material, technological, temporal, and symbolic - that constitute the identification portrait. The theoretical resonance of Galton’s composite portrait photography and other abstract techniques is seen to inform twentieth century and recent debates on photographic portraiture, and the transformation of the portrait for which Bertillon was responsible, which placed great emphasis on the need to summarise, even memorise, a subject’s ‘data’ for police purposes, is found to have a legacy that extends far beyond the standardised ‘mug shot’ into much more imaginary territories. Jacques Derrida’s terminology for the supplement, Roland Barthes’ commentaries on the photographic portrait, Julia Kristeva’s model of colour perception, and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s notion of the ‘body without organs’, are some of the many theoretical models with which this material is seen to resonate.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare