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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Photographic Fascination With Twins

the spring board is a national geographic article on epigenetics but the photos are captivating as well -MA

from NPR
by Claire O'Neill

One of the photos that made photographer Diane Arbus famous was Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967; it reverberated in The Shining and probably influenced Mary Ellen Mark's twin photos.

It goes without saying that twins long have fascinated photographers — as well as scientists. How is it that identical twins with virtually identical DNA can be so different? Conversely, how is it that identical twins separated at birth can still have so much in common? An article in National Geographic's January issue explores the focus of recent research: How a third factor, beyond nature and nurture, might have a vital role in making us who we are. The term is epigenetics and the article explains it best.

Photographer Martin Schoeller must have jumped at the chance to shoot the portraits for this story. Once you know his style, you'll start to recognize his photos on the covers of major magazines — or in museums. I saw his enormous portraits for the first time at the National Portrait Gallery a while back. He uses a huge camera with a depth of field so famously narrow that the eyes are in focus and the nose is not.

In Schoeller's portraits, eyes are like an open book. His portraits are studies of the face's physical topography, but also of our irrepressible emotions — how they translate to the twinkle of an eye or the wrinkle on a forehead.

It's fascinating to see his style in this context. How identical are identical twins? What do you think?

gallery here: and more here:

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