Don’t worry! The man with the outstretched arms is not about to be crucified. His Bertillon measurements are being taken and recorded.
The photo was made at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. The St. Louis police had an exhibit at the fair where officers explained to fair goers some of the new techniques they used to identify suspects. Bertillon measurements and fingerprinting were two highlights of the exhibit. The police officer taking the measurements isn’t identified but he’s probably John M. Shea. At the time Shea was head of the St. Louis Police Department’s Bertillon (aka criminal identification) Bureau.
Shea had an unusual ability to recognize faces. He was known far and wide as “The man with the Camera Eye.” My latest blog post for the Missouri History Museum tells Shea’s story.