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The art of a booking photo

  • Blog Post by: Michael Brodkorb
  • August 20, 2014 - 11:01 PM

Texas Governor Rick Perry was booked Tuesday on felony charges of coercion and official oppression stemming from a threat to veto funding for a Texas public integrity unit, unless a local district attorney resigned from office after being convicted of drunk driving.

Very quickly after being booked, Perry's mugshot was flying around social media and the internet for all the world to see.  

I spoke with Joseph Friedberg, one the premier criminal defense attorneys in Minnesota, about the visuals of a booking photo. I was curious if there was a science or design of how someone should appear in a booking photo that will likely be plastered across newspapers and television screens.  

Perry's booking photo seemed rather bland, but I wanted to talk with an expert.

Friedberg was adamant that booking photos should not be made public, because there's a " suspicion that they may have done something wrong" and "because booking photos are public and they go viral and you can never get them back."  

Friedberg added "there is no question in my mind that they shouldn't appear to be smiling, because there is nothing happy about being arrested." Friedberg concluded by saying "they shouldn't appear too mean, because it'll ruin their image, so they should just have as little expression as possible on their face."   

By looking at Perry's booking photo, it seems like he received similar advice. 

Picture source: Austin Police Department, Associated Press

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