Wednesday 6 March 2024

Staring Into the Lens

         On a September night in 1943, a Santa Barbara police officer worked the camera for a routine mug shot. Staring into the lens was a 19 year old female arrested at El Paseo Restaurant's bar for underage drinking.
         The resulting black-and-white photograph, with the young woman's dark, curly hair framing a face both defiant and vulnerable, has since become iconic.
         It's the face of Elizabeth Short, known now as the Black Dahlia, who was brutally murdered in Los Angeles shortly after World War II. The 1947 crime grabbed national headlines when her body was found surgically bisected at the waist, drained of blood and bizarrely mutilated. The murder remains unsolved.

Gretchen Wenner
Santa Barbara Independant
jun 2018


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