Still life with narcotics: The fine art of the drug seizure photo

Drug arrests also give police agencies a chance to show off their artistic sides, as officers or troopers create a subgenre of crime photos: those depicting a drug bust’s haul.

A 2019 story on the website Topic argued that these kinds of images, historically, have served as a propaganda tool in the war on drugs. The author, Andy Wright, noted the “apparent relish and artistic flair” with which the confiscated materials are arranged.