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  • 08.10.12

BBC America’s “Mugshot Yourself” App Transports You Back In Time, Behind Bars

A new promotional app for the BBC America series “Copper” blends your visage with vintage mugshots of old-timey criminals. It’s more than a little unsettling.

BBC America’s “Mugshot Yourself” App Transports You Back In Time, Behind Bars

Ordinarily, if you wanted to see what you’d look like as an incarcerated felon from the 1800s, you’d have to procure a time machine and start committing crimes. Thankfully, the BBC America has got a workaround which speaks to this very specific concern.

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Tom Weston-Jones and Kyle Schmid

Mugshot Yourself is a promotional app for the channel’s first original scripted series, Copper, which premieres on August 19th. The show is about a police officer working in New York during the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. What more fitting way to get potential viewers psyched about watching, then to put them inside the skin of actual villains from that era? Rather than turn you into a Snidely Whiplash-like cartoon avatar a la AMC’s Mad Men Yourself app, this one strives for creepy authenticity.

Powered by the same technology as Face.com, Mugshot Yourself takes user-submitted photos and blends them with old-timey mugshots from Mark Michaelson’s vast “Least Wanted” collection of vintage criminals. You can watch as a photo similar to your face is selected, and then dissolves and distorts your own features into it. As for the results, I can offer the opposite guarantee that George Zimmer makes in those Men’s Wearhouse ads: “You’re not gonna like the way you look.”

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.

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