FBI most wanted

Above: FBI Ten Most Wanted suspects as of 16 July 2018. Credit: FBI.

FBI Most Wanted

The FBI, the USA's domestic intelligence and security service, maintain a webpage of their Ten Most Wanted crime suspects--suspects who are on-the-run from the police. Those who appear on this list have risen to the level of notorious: anyone who makes the list is part of an elite--anti-elite or inverse-elite--of human endeavour in the field of criminal activity. Of course photography is front-and-centre on the Most Wanted list. In essence the list is a selection of photo-portraits with the subject's name appearing below the photo in block caps. From a photography point-of-view the most wanted photos are worthy of our interest in that they set a parameter on the side of the "worst" photo-portraits. The subjects are notable only for having committed ghastly (SOED: causing real terror) crimes--there is nothing else to recommend them. These photos represent one extreme pole in photo-portraiture.

As image, the suspect-photo is often notable for how little heinousness it conveys. Sometimes the photo used is a neutral-bland passport pic.--unless you were told, you would never know that the subject is actually a mega-criminal. The suspect depicted with a passport-type picture might otherwise be, say, an award-winning software developer; just a perfectly ordinary quotidian type person--no different from the people you pass on the City streets everyday. Occasionally a photo will "do justice" to the subject aesthetically and is in sympathy (SOED: affinity, correspondence) with the dreadful by way of the introduction of anti-artistic qualities--the haphazard (SOED: mere chance) and the shabby (SOED: in bad repair or condition; faded and worn, dingy, dilapidated, seedy). In such cases, the photo supplied is likely to be a low-res snapshot; a grainy crop-in; out-of-focus; a rephotograph (a photo of a photo). Sometimes there is irony. For example, some are represented by their high-school yearbook photo: young men and women with high hopes for making a success for their lives with all their adult life still ahead of them ... and now look where the photo has ended up.

(16 July 2018)