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The Victim as Criminal

by Carrie Rentschler

In some media coverage after her sexual assault and murder, Kitty Genovese was portrayed through a mug shot taken of her in 1961 upon her arrest on a misdemeanor charge of book making. The corner of the board identifying her and the charge is visible on the chain around her neck. Drawing on scholars such as Allan Sekula, one can interpret her police portrait in a number of ways not fully determined by the arrest or the conditions of the portrait practice, including her photographic presence as a young Butch woman.

1961 mug shot of Kitty Genovese

1961 mug shot of Kitty Genovese

from mug shot (1961)
Creator: Queens, NY police
Distributor: Abe Rosenthal's book Thirty-Eight Witnesses
Posted by Carrie Rentschler