Plus ca change
September 15, 2011 2:57 PM   Subscribe

Drew Gardner is an English photographer with a wide range of interests (Eccentrics, Guinness records) though perhaps his most beguiling collection is of Descendants, portraits of, well, descendents of the rich and powerful in some of their most iconic poses. Bonus video of Helen Pankhurst being set up as her great grandmother Emmeline, with audio of the great suffragette herself
posted by IndigoJones (13 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Helen Pankhurst deserves a little more than just the off hand. Too quick of finger, me.
posted by IndigoJones at 3:01 PM on September 15, 2011

Thanks for this. It's certainly a lot of fun.
posted by Jehan at 3:21 PM on September 15, 2011

The resemblances really come out in these photos. I can imagine them being sold back in the day as a behind-the-scenes bonus feature that comes with the original painting. "See the man behind the oil!"
posted by brappi at 4:07 PM on September 15, 2011

This is awesome.
posted by feckless at 4:08 PM on September 15, 2011

Primo: This is awesome. Thanks for posting it.

Secondo: There's a few of these where the resemblance is quite clear. (Hey, Worsdworth.) But in a lot of the others I feel like the meticulousness of the costume and pose are doing a lot of the work. Napoleon, for instance --- the shape of his head and features are nothing like his ancestors, and it's hard to tell if the size and body shape really match or whether it's just well framed.
posted by Diablevert at 5:29 PM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Such fantastic photos, the smile on my face got bigger & bigger the more I clicked through.
posted by Wantok at 5:30 PM on September 15, 2011

I was looking at these, thinking - who actually are these people? Where has the Cromwell bloodline ended up? Are these rich aristocrats living in the grand tradition, or are they humdrum nobodies, working anonymously in some supermarket, or driving buses, or IT support? So here's some interesting background on some of them. At least two appear to be fine art dealers. Looks like the project was commissioned by the Daily Mail, too - they make no mention of Drew.
posted by The Discredited Ape at 6:47 PM on September 15, 2011

I was so enjoying the Guinness record album when bam, there's that non-human looking waist in the last photo...
posted by of strange foe at 10:31 PM on September 15, 2011

Okay, I am going to be the curmudgeon here - I don't get the whole 'people finding their identity in what their ancestors did' (Yes, I hate 'Who do you think you are') Okay, if you inherit money or property that has an effect on your life, but the fact an ancestor was famous, or did something, why does that form your identity? What about all the other (not so famous or interesting) ancestors?

This smacks of that to me. It doesn't really seem to be much more than dress-ups recreating famous images that has the spin of some descendants. Pretty pictures, but so is the Christian Louboutin Fall 2011 look book that did something similar, and frankly I think probably has more to say.
posted by Megami at 12:33 AM on September 16, 2011

Pretty pictures, but so is the Christian Louboutin Fall 2011 look book that did something similar, and frankly I think probably has more to say.

Right. "Buy my absurd shoes."

I think you are being too curmudgeonly, and perhaps reading too much into this particular project.

As to the bigger question, well, we are all of us descended from slaves and from kings and they all go into our personal mix. If you can find no particular inspiration from strengths (or weaknesses) of your own set of ancestors, famous or not, or are unfortunate enough or indifferent enough not to know about them, well, more's the pity for you. But there's plenty of people who make more of their lives than they might otherwise do in part because they feel a personal obligation to be as good as (or significantly better than) those who held their names before them.

Foolish of us, but there it is.

Alternatively, it can just be a diverting goof.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:32 AM on September 16, 2011

Actually Indigo Jones, I do have a mix of mundane, crazy and inspiring ancestors. I just don't let them define who I am.

But perhaps I am reading too much into this particular project :)
posted by Megami at 4:41 AM on September 16, 2011

I'd love to hear about them. I get a kick out of anyone's more dramatic ancestry, defining or no.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:17 AM on September 16, 2011

What I found intriguing about these is the way, sometimes, a tiny thing--an expression, a droopy eyelid, a bit of bone structure--has endured through the generations. Yes, in some cases the resemblance is artificially created, but with most I was able to pick out at least one detail of shared appearance.

I found these immensely pleasing for reasons I'm unable to fully articulate.

Well done. Great post.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:08 AM on September 16, 2011

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