"No famous people. I'm not interested in famous people," said Michaelson. "I'm interested in the small timers. The least wanted, not the most wanted."
Michaelson has been collecting mugshots now for 12 years. They range in age from the 1870's up to the 1970's and they tell the story of the tough breaks in life and how, just by doing the wrong thing at the wrong time, you can end up as a photographers model at the local police station.
"This is everybody," said Michaelson. "I'm not interested in the extremely violent or scary people. I'm looking for the everyman and everywoman. Down on their luck, fell through the cracks."
Mugshots, of course, don't mean guilt. They just mean you got arrested and got your mug shot.
Michaelson has more than 15,000 mugshots in his collection and about 500 of them will be on display for the show. They come from across America and, as you might imagine, they are a total cross section of us.
"Everyone under the sun. All nationalities. All races. It's the whole human condition," said Michaelson.
The mugshot show has a crime tape theme: Deprendi miserum est.
"It's miserable to be apprehended ... but also it sucks to get caught," translates Michaelson.
Least Wanted: A Century of American Mugshots
The Mark Michaelson Collection
January 18- April 22, 2008
The Center for Intuitive and Outisder Art
756 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago
Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. -5 p.m.
Thursday 11 a.m.- 7:30 p.m.