The Criminal Type

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In the late nineteenth century, British polymath Francis Galton worked with the process of composite photography to verify and illustrate his physiognomic theories. The process was founded on the idea that a person’s character and potential could be established through appearance alone. This involved exposing a number of individual portraits of chosen groups of people on a photographic plate. The overlapping caused the subjects’ individual physiognomic qualities to vanish and accentuated common characteristics of the chosen group. Groups that Galton often chose to profile were the sick, the criminal and the deranged.

This technique was applied to the CEOs of America’s largest banks; Jamie Dimon from JP Morgan Chase, Lloyd Blankfein from Goldman Sachs, Brian Moynihan from Bank of America, James P Gorman from Morgan Stanley, and Michael Corbat from Citi. The opacity of each layer in the composite was determined by market capitalization, that is the total dollar market value of a company's outstanding shares, of each bank. The background color was determined by the average skin tone of the composite of bankers.