140 years ago, Bertillon achieved his greatest success by demonstrating that photography could be a formidable tool for law enforcement to prevent crimes and misdemeanors, as it led to the arrest of Ravachol, the most famous of French anarchists.
Ravachol is smiling in this astonishing photo taken by Bertillon at the Paris police headquarters. He is not hostile as seen in some classic images from the history of photography where criminals appear to struggle like demons to prevent their souls or appearances from being stolen.
Since then, millions, tens of millions of human beings have been photographed by law enforcement agencies, sometimes simply as a preventive measure like the anarchists of the past, or more often for having committed minor offenses or serious crimes, as President Donald Trump recently seems to have done. Regardless of the circumstances, these police photographs, these anthropometric portraits, contribute to the fame and immortality of these men and women, sometimes anonymously, sometimes accompanied by true written or filmed sagas for having participated in certain famous chapters of the history of crime.
This third monthly online auction, prepared by Serge Plantureux and Lucas Vanelstraete, is organized in collaboration with the logistics of the Drouot.com group. You can also join us for the closing of the auction on Saturday, September 23, 3:00 pm at ATELIER41, or submit your orders to our team at
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