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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fascination of Difference in Identical Images,
This review is from: Identical: Portraits of Twins (Hardcover)In yet another artistic volume published by teNeues Press we are placed in a situation where we are allowed to view, side by side, the faces of identical twins, triplets and quadruplets. Not only does this provide a fascinating opportunity for us to see the minute differences in the division of a single fertilized egg that produces a mirror image of itself, but we are also privy to the personality differences in tissue language and slight variations that happen when `identical' dwellers in the same uterus come forth and mature. This is a magnificent collection of full-page full color apposing images of twins (and a few triplets and quadruplets in fold out page presentation) by photographer Martin Schoeller who explores both myths and realities of how even when separated at birth, identical twins maintain their genetic similarities.
This book contains photographic studies of forth sets of identical twins in images so large that we practically see the cells of the faces. The result is endlessly fascinating food for though as our eyes search of the inconsistencies and marvel at the identical aspects of these `duplicated people'. Marina Abramović offers her usual candid opinions and thoughts about the works of Schoeller and the concept of identities. This is one of those large books that will provide endless hours of searching to explore the photographer's intentions - defining identical twins - a book of great photographic skill and probing investigative thoughts. Grady Harp, December 12
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but Mildly Disturbing,
This review is from: Identical: Portraits of Twins (Hardcover)Identical twins are some of the most fascinating people out there. They share exact copies of their genes, and they question our notions of individuality and personal uniqueness. Fascination with twins has a long history, and Martin Schoeller's "Identical" takes us on a very, quite literally, in-your-face exploration of these natural clones.
Most of us who have not had twins in our families are not able to distinguish them apart, even when they are someone close to us - friends, coworkers, associates, etc. We are told that they do in fact poses distinguishing characteristics, but for the most part those are too subtle to be noticed. One of the biggest virtues of "Identical" is that it enables us to take a very close look at the faces of identical twins, something that would be too creepy to pull of in the real life. When we are finally able to take such a close look the distinguishing characteristics spring at us in full force and become more than obvious.
I am not the biggest fan of these extreme close up photographs of front-facing unsmiling twins (and triplets, quadruplets ...) The photographs are certainly unique and somewhat provocative, but the eerie unflinching stares, especially when repeated on facing pages with subtle (and not so subtle) variations leaves me feeling mildly disturbed. This is particularly the case for those twins who had gone through the process of "extreme makeover" with the gender reassignment.
All of the photographs are shot in extreme shallow depth of field. The effect of this is to bring the faces closer to us, but it also manages to soften the features. This prevents one form taking a more "clinical" look at the photographs, and see all the minute and unflattering details of human faces - warts, moles, pores, wrinkles, etc. It is understandable that an artistic book would shun such details, but I would have preferred to see them. It would have enriched my understanding of human faces in general.
This is certainly a very interesting book, and well worth going though. However, it is not the kind of book that I would want to go back to repeatedly. These are not the kinds of photographs that I gravitate towards in my leisure time, nor are they so overwhelmingly artistically unique that I'd derive some inspiration from them. Granted, these are all just my personal tastes and you may find this book much more alluring than I had.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But they're not!,
This review is from: Identical: Portraits of Twins (Hardcover)Identical that is. I have experience of twins: brothers, cousins, nephews, and two pairs farther away on the family tree. Among them, only the cousins are "identical" (i.e., monozygotic) - but hardly identical. More on that later.
Twins are common enough, one in eighty births, give or take, but monozygotics are rarities among twins. And they're not just twins - triplets and even quads appear here. Yes, they have striking similarities of feature, since they have the same genome. No, they are not two of the same person. At the biochemical level, gene silencing makes each unique early on (girls more than boys, not that it's always visible), as do un-programmed developmental features like the freckles on the cover models. Then, the forces of each life act on them differently as with the Olivers - aging men with only sibling similarity. Then there are others who show that "identical" can be very different, as in the Tynskis or the Key/Bowers pair, one of whom had a sex reassignment.
Many of these multiplets work hard at keeping their resemblance. I've even heard of older twins who had cosmetic surgery to restore the similarity that divergent years had taken from them. That approach seems clear enough, in ones who match hair styles, jewelry, and makeup. Others (like Adriana and Tamara or the Estradas) go their own ways, as siblings rather than replicas. In my own family, that's always been encouraged. In one case, with monozygotic girls, they revolted against being a matched set of flower girls until massive bribes were brought to bear. In another pair (dizygotic), one married a Muslim and the other married a Jew. Having the same mother on the same day matters as much or as little as one might want.
But, I've never been there. Living your life with another person's face must have a deep effect on the notion of "identity." The Boston area has a set of monozyotic triplets who went through a teenaged phase of differentiation. Then, in their twenties, they embraced their commonality as a basis for guerilla performance art. A few monozgoytic quads appear here. I can appreciate the twins and even triplets, but the quads start to leave an uneasy feeling. If you've ever read Brave New World, this comes eerily close to the Bokanovsky process - except that these siblings came by their common heritage through Nature's process, not Bokanovsky's.
So, the subject of twins fascinates and this tribute to monozygotics enthralls. These are different people. But how different, and how much do they want to differ, and why, and how much does it matter? There are as many answers as there are multiplet sets. This photographic essay presents only the pictorial data - but, I think, barely touches the things that matter.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twins and Twins,
This review is from: Identical: Portraits of Twins (Hardcover)We are proud grandparents of beautiful twin granddaughters and honored that they are included
in the book published by the famous photographer Martin Schoeller.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful,
This review is from: Identical: Portraits of Twins (Hardcover)I am biased because my granddaughters are in this book but I know what hard work went into creating it and the photos are amazing.
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE this book,
This review is from: Identical: Portraits of Twins (Hardcover)I am a photographer but I rarely buy photography books. This is the 1st I have purchased in about a decade. I love it --fascinating. Schoeller's work is really compelling here. The seller did an amazing job getting it to me quickly at the right price!
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Identical: Portraits of Twins by Martin Schoeller (Hardcover - November 15, 2012)