Canadian photographer Francois Brunelle spent 12 years tracking down real life Doppelgängers — two individuals who are not related but could pass for identical twins — and photographing them. He calls his project “I’m Not a Look-Alike,” and it’s starting to get some well-deserved attention.
Francios Brunelle has a goal of photographing 200 “couples,” as he calls them. And when I first read that about his work, I was shocked. Having put out my own personal body of work where I shot portrait of 106 people over 3 years (Seattle 100 here)…I knew from experience what he’d signed up for… But the he added a whole additional layer. By “couple” he meant “unrelated people who look just like another person.” Whoa. I was blown away.
A student of the human face since his early days as a photographer in 1968, Brunelle’s work is a reflection of his fascination with “the resemblance between look-alikes” and his “ongoing effort to capture the elusive human soul. Those who know they have a Doppelgänger or know someone else who does are encouraged to email the artist with the look-alikes’ names, city and country of residence, contact info and — if possible — photos.
Monster respect to Brunelle for redefining determination. This project has taken him 12 YEARS. 12 years is a serious chunk of life to devote to any project, let alone one that amounts to a slightly warped, “needle in a haystack” manhunt. And it seems to me that finding the subjects is just half the battle. There’s then the convincing of the subjects to participate, which involves quite intimately posing with a perfect stranger. [Never mind the fact that the other subject is virtually the same person you’ve seen in the mirror for the past X years] It’s precisely the sense of familiarity the subjects appear to have with one another that really strikes the chord with the observer, particularly once you know the full story. This is a major factor in what makes the whole project a mindblower and a true work of art.
It’s said we all have a Doppelgänger. I’ve been
brow beaten teased for years by the photo industry that mine is is here in this post, but asking to be couple #187 is a little more difficult because of my doppleganger’s busy schedule. Then again, maybe I’d feel an immediate kinship with my other. You know, cuz he’s sort of walked a mile. So we’d hang out. Grab a drink. Make another Hangover movie. And maybe we’d start ironically singing Tom Petty’s You Don’t Know How It Feels. And then we’d send an email to Brunelle. Couple #187. What the hell.
Much respect to Brunell – great project. Enjoy the work and let him know if you find another pair.
This excellent website truly has all of the information I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask. |
My name is Kelly Downing and I am an unrelated look alike. Please contact me!
Bravo François! Quel beau succès. I don’t know if I have a Doppelgänger somewhere, but if you ever find him just let me know and I’ll gladly collaborate with you so you can get the two of us together and you can take a few pictures of us. Would be fun! Again, congratulation. What you’re doing is great…
This is such an incredible idea for a series. I think this would make for such a brilliant book, it would be interesting to read their stories. I wonder how different or similar they might be. I’ve heard fo twin studies that ask these questions, when twins grow up apart in different circumstances.
I absolutely love doppelganger stories, and actually have my own to share…
For the past twenty years, I’ve been told that I’m an absolute dead ringer for the actor, Richard Gere.
I’ve been stopped on the street by complete strangers, who –– after a bit of chit-chat –– asked if they could have a picture taken with me.
I’ve been given First Class upgrades on airplanes –– without my asking, and without any charges.
I’ve actually been chased down the street (in Darjeeling India) by a group of people yelling out “Mister Gere! Mister Gere!”
A few years back, I ended up meeting a gentleman who’s a personal friend of Mr. Gere. I told this man about my situation, where I’m always being mistaken for his friend, and he looked at me and said: “That’s weird. You don’t look a thing like Richard.”
Crushed my ego flat.