A mug shot or mugshot is a photographic portrait of a person from the waist up, typically taken after a person is arrested made with a purpose to have a photographic record for identification purposes by victims, the public and investigators. A typical mug shot is two-part, with one side-view, and one front-view.
The paired arrangement may have been inspired by the 1865 prison portraits taken by Alexander Gardner of accused conspirators in the Lincoln assassination trial, though Gardner's photographs were full-body portraits with only the heads turned for the profile shots.
The earliest mugshot photos of prisoners may have been taken in Belgium in 1843 and 1844. In the UK, the police of London started taking mugshots in 1846. By 1857, the New York City Police Department had a gallery where daguerreotypes of criminals were displayed.