Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 23 January 2014 - 8:44pm

rom the street, often still animated by the dramas surrounding their apprehension". Doyle suggests that, compared with the subjects of prison mug shots, "the subjects of the Special Photographs seem to have been allowed - perhaps invited - to position and
compose themselves for the camera as they liked. Their photographic identity thus seems constructed out of a potent alchemy of inborn disposition, personal history, learned habits and idiosyncrasies, chosen personal style (haircut, clothing, accessories)
and physical characteristics."
Special Photograph no. D158/D159. The 'D' prefix on the serial number indicates that the photograph was taken on behalf of the Drug Bureau, which in the late 1920s consisted of two men, Detectives Wickham and Thompson. 'Ah Num' and 'Ah Tom', which may be
approximate renderings of these men's names, do not turn up in the records of the time, and the expectation that they were to be released may account for their obviously elevated mood.
This picture is one of a series of around 2500 "special photographs"
taken by New South Wales Police Department photographers between 1910 and 1960. These "special photographs" were mostly taken in the cells at the Central Police Station, Sydney and are, as curator Peter Doyle explains, of "men and women recently plucked f

FP07_0004_020
New South Wales. Police Dept. Drugs Bureau.
rom the street, often still animated by the dramas surrounding their apprehension". Doyle suggests that, compared with the subjects of prison mug shots, "the subjects of the Special Photographs seem to have been allowed - perhaps invited - to position and compose themselves for the camera as they liked. Their photographic identity thus seems constructed out of a potent alchemy of inborn disposition, personal history, learned habits and idiosyncrasies, chosen personal style (haircut, clothing, accessories) and physical characteristics." Special Photograph no. D158/D159. The 'D' prefix on the serial number indicates that the photograph was taken on behalf of the Drug Bureau, which in the late 1920s consisted of two men, Detectives Wickham and Thompson. 'Ah Num' and 'Ah Tom', which may be approximate renderings of these men's names, do not turn up in the records of the time, and the expectation that they were to be released may account for their obviously elevated mood. This picture is one of a series of around 2500 "special photographs" taken by New South Wales Police Department photographers between 1910 and 1960. These "special photographs" were mostly taken in the cells at the Central Police Station, Sydney and are, as curator Peter Doyle explains, of "men and women recently plucked f
glass plate negative : b&w ; 12 x 16.5 cm.
Picture
City of Shadows at the Justice & Police Museum, Sydney, November 2005-January 2007.
Image File Custom
'Ah Num', 'Ah Tom'. Undated, but other negatives in the same series are dated 1930.
365,510
Emulsion Side: Ink: AH NUM / D159; AH TOM / D158, handwritten pencil : Ah Num Ah Tom.
Justice & Police Museum
Mug shot of 'Ah Num' and 'Ah Tom', ca 1930, Central Police Station, Sydney.
Sydney Living Museums Image Sydney Living Museums Image
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Published Note

Peter Doyle with Caleb Williams <a href=./fullRecord.jsp?recno=28106>City of shadows: Sydney police photographs 1912-1948</a> Historic Houses Trust, 2005, pp.196, 236.