Double gazing: celebrating the curious world of identical twins






There’s something about identical twins that’s both powerful and mysterious. While most of us can understand a connection with an older or younger sibling, having a twin – and one that looks virtually the same as you – is difficult to comprehend. 
Photographer Peter Zelewski has always been fascinated by identical twins, so much so that a few years back he began photographing them. The results of those portraits have now been put together in a new book – Twins – which showcases 44 pairs of siblings in beautiful, and beautifully coordinated, poses. Here, Peter tells us the story behind the project. 
“I distinctly remember twin boys in my class at grade school, and being amazed by how enigmatic they were. They spent all their time together, dressing and talking alike while the school authorities did their best to separate them. This seemed to only make their bond stronger.  I’m sure there was also a certain amount of jealousy on my part to witness this partnership which seemed to invisibly unite them. 
“When I got into photography some years later my twins fascination surfaced again with the discovery of photographer Diane Arbus and her famous iconic portrait of twins Cathleen and Colleen Wade. The image was strong, powerful, intriguing and also somewhat disturbing – the portrait fascinated me.
“As my series of twins portraits developed, and as the project grew in size, word about my twins photography spread and I was contacted almost daily by young twins, mature twins and twins of every nationality all whom were excited to be part of the project. Over the duration of the project, which lasted around four years, I photographed over 50 sets of twins with 44 final images selected for the book.
“In most cases, one of the twins was almost always more dominant and more in control than the other. Also, one was usually more confident or willing to take charge in how they posed for their portrait. Because all the twins were dressed identically, I relied heavily on their personality traits (more so than anything physical) in order to confidently communicate with them during out photoshoot. 
“If I had to pick one set of twins who I really struggled to differentiate it would have to be sisters Alexandria and Naomi Hewston who wrote the introduction for the book. They’re not only almost completely identical in appearance but also have very similar personalities which made it almost impossible for me to tell them apart. 
“During the duration of the project I saw many examples of the telepathic link from twins who communicated through their own language, felt each other’s pain and most who simply found it impossible to get through the day without talking to one another. Even with the project now complete, I’m only just now able to comprehend how special and unique the twins relationship is. I really hope that anyone who looks at the images and reads the stories can feel a fraction of what I felt when I made these very special portraits.” 
Twins is published by Hoxton Mini Press, price £16.95

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