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Genetic portraits
August 17, 2011 12:05 PM   Subscribe

Split Family Faces. "How much do you and members of your family really look alike? Quebec, Canada-based graphic designer and photographer Ulric Collette has created a shockingly cool project where he's exploring the genetic similarities between different members of the same family. By splitting their faces in half and then melding them together, he creates interesting new people that are sometimes quite normal looking and other times far from it. He calls this series Genetic Portraits."
posted by Bunny Ultramod (43 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's creepy as all hell.

Really cool idea, though.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:08 PM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's the eyes -- the eyes don't match in most of them, and that's what makes it really creepy..
Venkman: and don't stare at me you got the *bug eyes*.
posted by k5.user at 12:10 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Conan did it first.
posted by kmz at 12:11 PM on August 17, 2011


Tijuana Upstairs Medical School performs another series of world-shattering surgeries.

Seriously, these are, for some reason I can't put my finger on, viscerally terrifying.
posted by griphus at 12:13 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


This should be done with more sets of twins. That one of Laurence & Christine was pretty fantastic.
posted by psoas at 12:16 PM on August 17, 2011


The brothers, Christopher and Ulric, might as well be twins. Wow.
posted by fancyoats at 12:22 PM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is really, really sweet. Family resemblances are so endearing.

My brother and I look so much like our parents and each other it's disgusting. I should really do something like this with our family photos.

People who know my dad better say I look like my mom, and people who know my mom better say I look like my dad, which is pretty funny. If you do side-by-side pictures, the top half of my face is my dad's (right down to the eyebrow--yes, you read that right) and the bottom half of my face is my mom's. Same with my brother. I also managed to inherit my dad's unmanageably thick hair and my mom's unmanageably thick knees. Yay, genetics!
posted by phunniemee at 12:22 PM on August 17, 2011


Would love to see a video of him working in the studio and Photoshop to combine the two images.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:24 PM on August 17, 2011


Brandon Blatcher: Would love to see a video of him working in the studio and Photoshop to combine the two images.

Honestly, the Photoshop work is probably fairly easy, though a bit time consuming. I expect the hard part is getting the photos properly lit and posed for a good match. i was prepared to find it unimpressive, but he's done a great job.
posted by gilrain at 12:30 PM on August 17, 2011


Also, can't help but think of the Batman villain Two Face, especially the heavily computerized version from The Dark Knight. The latter looks extremely cartoonish, while some of the portraits in the post are brainitchingly unsettling. The contrast is startling.

Honestly, the Photoshop work is probably fairly easy, though a bit time consuming.

WANT TO SEE THE MAGIC.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:41 PM on August 17, 2011


This looks like an epidemic of Bell's palsy to me.
posted by srboisvert at 12:44 PM on August 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


You could probably do this with personalities, too.
posted by TheRedArmy at 12:48 PM on August 17, 2011


This looks like an epidemic of Bell's palsy to me.

THAT'S what it is. Well, not palsy, but rather it looks like a number of them -- the old/young ones, specifically -- have suffered really, really bad strokes.
posted by griphus at 12:51 PM on August 17, 2011


I'm mostly impressed by the meshing of hair. That is definitely my favorite part.
posted by jillithd at 12:52 PM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was sort of fascinated by the ones where the same mother (Francine) was merged with each of her daughters; in one, she is on the left and on one the right. Consequently, I read one picture as an older woman with a strangely young touch, and the other as a younger woman with a strangely old touch. It struck me, from this, how much our culture codes visual data left-to-right.
posted by threeants at 1:00 PM on August 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Most of the photos are really cool, and some are incredibly creepy -- especially that last one of him and his son, where it looks like the weird half-man half-child face is melting. (It's still cool, but creepy.)

I also find it really weird that Ulric was described as being from "Quebec, Canada". I am pretty sure I would never describe the city that way unless I were trying to wind someone up.
posted by jeather at 1:04 PM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Quebec, Canada-based graphic designer and photographer Ulric Collette has created a shockingly cool project where he's exploring the genetic similarities between different members of the same family.

I know this is just breathless blog writing, but the word "genetic" contributes nothing to the above sentence except some gosh-wow factor. Without that word, it actually becomes a completely mundane statement. Blood relatives look similar to one another. Yay.
posted by Nomyte at 1:07 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


It struck me, from this, how much our culture codes visual data left-to-right.

Any Sabra-Fites (or any other language read right-to-left) care to comment on this?
posted by griphus at 1:10 PM on August 17, 2011


I also find it really weird that Ulric was described as being from "Quebec, Canada". I am pretty sure I would never describe the city that way unless I were trying to wind someone up.

...514 was the area code, Quebec, Canada, my winter abode, in my 1.3 million dollar chalet pi backwards pi forwards all night and all day...
posted by phunniemee at 1:13 PM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Uncanny family resemblance.
posted by punkfloyd at 1:25 PM on August 17, 2011


Metafilter:retlifateM
posted by blue_beetle at 1:33 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is wild, man!
posted by Mister_A at 1:45 PM on August 17, 2011


One of the things that really, really fascinated me, once I worked through the implications of it, was the obvious arbitrariness of how I ended up as me, at least physically. When I was conceived, there was only one potential set of genes from my mother (assuming only one ovum released), but millions of different possibilities from my father, or at least however many possible combinations from my father's chromosomes (223?); aside from the potential difference in my life if I'd been born female (significant), I could have ended up as very different people if one of those other wiggly little dudes had ended up with the big prize. And that's even if I'd been conceived in the same month; a different month would have meant a different combination entirely from Mom. (Part of this obsession may have to do with my having several brothers and sisters; I've gotten to see just how different we've ended up courtesy of conception roulette.)

Now, let's consider time travel (stick with me, people). We know that minor differences in initial conditions can create huge differences down the line in complex systems, aka the Butterfly Effect; therefore, even minor differences in when, exactly, your parents had sex (don't sweat it, I'm almost done here) would have resulted in children who looked quite different, even with the family resemblance, and possibly with different combinations of aptitudes and deficits, so even if they'd had a child of the same gender with the same birthday and name as you, wouldn't really be you. So, even a relatively minor change in history would create a ripple effect with various ancestors creating different sets of progeny who ended up doing different things, and within a few generations you'd have an entirely different set of people making history. Even with wealthy and relatively stable family dynasties, you could have had, say, Romanoffs that negotiated a successful transition to democracy, or a George W. Bush who was intelligent, thoughtful, and truly compassionate.

Anyway, that's what this made me think of.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:58 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was sort of fascinated by the ones where the same mother (Francine) was merged with each of her daughters; in one, she is on the left and on one the right. Consequently, I read one picture as an older woman with a strangely young touch, and the other as a younger woman with a strangely old touch. It struck me, from this, how much our culture codes visual data left-to-right.

Depending on whether you mean your left or her left, you may be experiencing a phenomenon which is not primarily cultural -- you might be noticing the effects of "left gaze bias", a phenomenon where people take most of their information about a person's face from the right side of the face (and, therefore, scan to their own left when looking at faces.) This has been shown in other primates, too. It's also been shown in dogs -- but *only* for human faces, not for looking at other dogs' faces!

If you're at all interested, googling up "left gaze bias" will give you material at numerous levels to get into.
posted by endless_forms at 2:12 PM on August 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


Interesting fact, Ulric's last name is "Zelig."
posted by crunchland at 2:13 PM on August 17, 2011


These are fabulous. I love the ones of the (adult) children and their parents.
posted by Theta States at 2:21 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Interesting fact, Ulric's last name is "Zelig."

Everywhere you go — chameleon!
posted by Nomyte at 2:31 PM on August 17, 2011


It's the eyes -- the eyes don't match in most of them, and that's what makes it really creepy.

I think it is also the mouths and how well they match up. And sometimes how skewed the midline of the face is.

It's amazing how instinctively disturbed we are by lack of symmetry.
posted by bearwife at 2:32 PM on August 17, 2011


Reminds me of the Simpson's episode in the Museum of Horrors, where one of the exhibits was The Ravages of Old Age.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:36 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, here it is. I guess you can see how poor my memory is for these things.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:39 PM on August 17, 2011


I'd think a campaign like this, but with siblings where one has smoked for a certain number of years while the other hasn't, would be a pretty effective deterrent to younger people picking up the habit.* Bonus points for twins.

*full disclosure: Both my parents smoked and I ALWAYS hated it.... So yea, I'm a bit biased.
posted by RolandOfEld at 2:42 PM on August 17, 2011


It says they're brothers, but the picture suggests that they're really half-brothers.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:42 PM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Weird, but I was hoping for something more "genetic" and less left-right. Like how I basically have my father's face with my mother's nose, and my sisters basically have my mother's face with my father's nose. That sort of thing. But, um, more in depth than that.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:51 PM on August 17, 2011


The first one looks like most 20-somethings in Barcelona, to be honest. Of either sex.
posted by jimmythefish at 4:46 PM on August 17, 2011


How dramatically is your face going to start sagging in 30 years? Now you know.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:04 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


See also: A decade's worth of Bootie fliers

Oh, and, very cool!
posted by bpm140 at 6:20 PM on August 17, 2011


These aren't creepy, and some of them are kind of hot. (Not the last one.)
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:54 PM on August 17, 2011


I think the last one is the best of the bunch.
posted by crunchland at 9:04 PM on August 17, 2011


[This is good]
posted by chunking express at 9:06 PM on August 17, 2011


Good but wanted more.
posted by mantecol at 11:19 PM on August 17, 2011


WANT TO SEE THE MAGIC.

The Magician's Alliance wants a word.
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posted by likeso at 3:17 AM on August 18, 2011


Wow, that's some serious family resemblance.
posted by antifuse at 7:56 AM on August 19, 2011


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