Thursday, 23 June 2011

famous photographs of twins

Welcome to the 29th edition.
The PDF explains a simple way for putting colour into a black & white image.

Diane Arbus
What is it about nature’s clones that make them so fascinating? Twins have been reviled and revered in equal measure. This photograph is probably the most well known twins photograph in the western world.  Taken by Diane Arbus in 1966 it raises the question of identity like no other photograph. The matching outfits and the white wall keeps the attention on the faces of Cathleen & Colleen Wade. The noticeable difference between the girls is one slightly smiling the other frowning. Many interesting essays have been written about this picture and are worthy of reading. "We thought it was the worst likeness of the twins we'd ever seen," said Bob Wade, the girls' father. The girls were seven years old when Arbus spotted them at a party for twins and triplets in New Jersey. For an interview with the twins and to find out what it meant to be immortalized in perpetuity clink on the link. For those of you familiar with Stanley Kubrick's film 'The Shining' the twin girls are remarkably similar to Arbus's twins. This is not coincidence and they were based on this picture.

Mathew Brady
 Eng and Chang Bunker, the most famous conjoined twins in history were born in Siam now called Thailand. The name 'Siamese Twins' originates from Eng and Chang. Their mother refused to have them separated fearing that she would lose one, if not both of them. Born on May 11 1811 they had seventeen siblings including three sets of twins. They married sisters, and in traditional twin fashion fought over who would get Sarah, the object of their collective desire. Eng won the battle and between them the twins fathered twenty-two children. The brothers died within four months of each other in 1874. According to some reports after their death physicians believed that it was possible for them to have been separated and lived healthy lives. Mathew Brady took the photograph in 1869 circa five years, who is more associated with early war photographs. Considering the fighting the twins had done over Sarah maybe this is the reason he was chosen.....

David Bailey

Ronnie & Reggie Kray were celebrity gangsters who ruled East London in the 1960's. Ronnie the dominant twin shot dead fellow gangster George Cornell in a Whitechapel pub The Blind Beggar. In the following months he goaded his brother about the need 'to do his one' and their fate was sealed the moment Ronnie pulled the trigger.  Reggie obliged his younger brother killing Jack 'the hat' McVitie about eighteen months later. A driving force between any twins is the needed for equality and it is inevitable that Reggie would be united in murder with Ronnie. In 1969 they were sentenced to thirty-years each. The photograph is revealing with Ronnie in front and Reggie looking over his shoulder making a statement about their relationship. If this was at the request of the twins or intuition by legendary photographer David Bailey I am not sure. This photograph is widely used on mugs, t-shirts and posters to satisfy the seemingly endless demand of the cult following that has arisen since their imprisonment. 

Nicholas Brewer

My M.A. looked at the subject of twins and the picture above is from that body of work. As a lone twin (my brother Simon died when I was 18) it was a natural choice of subject matter although at times a difficult one. 

If you are wondering why I have included an Elvis Presley clip the answer is Elvis had a twin brother Jessie who was stillborn. Justin Timberlake had a twin sister who died shortly after birth.  For obvious reasons of credibility  I chose Elvis over Justin. The impact of twinship lasts for a lifetime. Every few years there is a story about twins who were separated at a young age and reunited years later. Often they have lived parallel lives. It leads us to consider if we are the product of nature or nurture. 

How to add colour to black & white images.

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