Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Martin Schoeller: Twin Talk


Nope, you're not seeing double; they're actually twins... in which case you actually are seeing double... or are you really? Twin talk has been a mind-boggling topic for discussion to scientists, so it's not surprising to find that portrait photography would be utilized to aid in this endeavor. Portrait photographer Martin Schoeller turns his lens towards the odd couples here as he takes twin portraits for National Geographic.



Martin Schoeller has already been featured on this blog for his extremely up-close portraits of celebrities. His signature photographic technique of tightly cropped faces lit by two large in-your-face soft-boxes means that every nook and cranny of the subjects' front facade become heightened. His photographs have proven to be popular as they give viewers a different view of the same of faces of celebrities and stars.

In this case, Schoeller's technique is the perfect way to highlight the similarities and dissimilarities of identical twins. Were it not for this descriptive text, viewers might think that these pictures feature the same person photographed twice. On closer inspection however, readers might see small deviations: a scar here, more freckles there, a slightly upturned nose on one, a more prominent chin on the other. Slowly, viewers realize that they're looking at identical twins.



Monozygotic or identical twins comprise only three percent of the US population, so it's quite an event when a gathering of twins takes place. In the annual Twins Days Festival held in Twinsburg, Ohio, doppelgangers of all ages and sizes gather to celebrate their uniqueness. The large gathering of doubles has attracted the interest of different scientific and government agencies, from the Monell Chemical Senses Center studying the effect of alcohol on the siblings to the FBI collecting data for their face-recognition software.

The research that has gone into twin studies has changed society's way of looking at the nature vs. nurture debate. In many cases of identical twins being raised apart, many show the same levels of intelligence and social preferences as they grow up, making a good argument for hereditary genetics.



These faces you see here, however, belong to brothers and sisters who've spent most of their lives together. Thus it shouldn't be to surprising that most of them have the same expression and look, down to the kind of haircut they have.

While monozygotic twins still provide dozens of unanswered questions to science, it's nice to see that they can be rather beautiful subjects for portrait photography enthusiasts.



13 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

Slight differences but still genuinely spooky, do they have empathy with each other I wonder?

R said...

Great fotos!

GT said...

Great pictures, well done!

Fang said...

Cool, some of those look almost identical! Even the position of their eyes or their faces matches!

Dale JaneƩ said...

It's so interesting to look at photos of twins and compare, I've heard of his close up photography of celebs too, his work is really cool and real to look at

~Dale

Bonjour Tristesse said...

These portraits are great. You can really see the subtle differences between them.

Trolske said...

Amazing to see, that such tiny details have such a big effect on your look.

Ray Rousell said...

Great pics!! A very interesting subject.

D4 said...

I love the harshness of a tiny detail. A small difference can make the whole set peculiar, and I love it. It intrigued me and made me spend a good few minutes on some of these.

Electric Addict said...

It's fun looking for the differences between identical twins.

Bart said...

dont quite get whats going on? slight smirk before and after?

sm said...

excellent pics
nice post

Shutterbug said...

it's like that game: quick, spot the differences between the two photos! :)

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