Photographer Peter Zelewski has spent the past couple of years exploring the exceptional world of identical twins, questioning not only the extraordinary bond between them but also what makes them different from each other as their specific personalities shine through.
Peter has a passion for road portraiture and chooses to capture his subjects outside in natural light. He captures identical twins from various ages, backgrounds, and gender, all found in the diverse and cosmopolitan city of London, where Detroit-born Peter has lived since the 1980’s.
“When I began the job, it was without a doubt the visual attraction which I found most intriguing when shooting portraits of twins,” Peter told Huck. “However, as the show progressed, it was the subtle differences that became equally interesting.”
Even though the twins are dressed similarly, even affecting comparable poses to emphasize their togetherness, Peter manages to capture their identity too, at the subtle differences in expression and disposition that they exhibit. “One illustration is 15-year-old brothers, Duke and Joe. By stripping the backdrop and photographing the boys in plain t-shirts, I managed to let their distinct personalities shine through.”
To capture so much in one frame, in addition to the stunning aesthetic quality of these photos themselves, is an impressive feat indeed. Peter is displaying some of the portraits in an exhibition in the Hoxton Hotel Gallery in Shoreditch, London. For more info, visit Creativeboom.
‘Our mum told us when we were babies we used to speak with each other without talking, by making baby noises. Growing up we had been so close that we felt the need to have a lot of friends. Being older we would like to have a best friend other than each other. The problem is that when we meet someone new, they constantly see us as you rather than as individuals. Our identity is really important to us’ — Kira and Taya
‘It’s been tough for the two people. Our mother was an addict, and our father died of an overdose only weeks before we were born. He was just 16. I believe this is what has made our bond so strong; we’ve never actually had a mum or dad. We have been there for each other through the hardest times, and we are still there for each other today.’ – Che and Leonie
‘During a holiday to Italy, I became very ill and was hospitalized. My sister came to see me in the night but when she was leaving, my doctor watched her exiting the hospital, and he went crazy, shouting in Italian and angrily gesticulating. He did not realize I had a twin and assumed I discharged myself! The language barrier prevented a mother from describing so that she needed to bring him back to the ward and show him that we had been twins’ – Edwina and Rebecca.
‘As Mickey and Reggie’s parents, we’re happy our sons are twins particularly because we know they’ll be assigned a best friend for life. As they grow older, we understand their powerful bond will provide the security and confidence to make sure that whatever goals they pursue, the other will always be present to say I am proud of you.’ — Reggie and Mickey
‘Sharmeena and I have moved around a lot in our lives we have never actually lived at a place we could call home. When you are young and moving from country to country making friends can be challenging which I assume has only strengthened the bond between us. If we moved to a new place and did not make friends, at least we had each other, the best friends we both could expect.’ — Sharmeena and Ridhwana.
‘We’ve been very close all our lives, and our characters are rather similar. Occasionally we will also think about the same idea at the same time, talk about it to one another, then realize that we both idea of it! This similarity is a lot stronger than our appearance since it reveals how truly alike we are on the inside as well as the outside.’ — Bill and Toby.
‘We’re best friends and sisters wrapped into one. There is a strong bond between us, so we always know exactly what the other is thinking, feeling or even dreaming. She was in horrible pain but did not cry once but could not stop crying. It was like her pain was moved to me, I understood exactly how she was feeling.’— Chloe and Leah.
‘We have always been dressed the same from an early age. This never went down well with our teachers. The teachers hated our motto and were constantly trying their best to keep us apart. They even told our mother that we should not dress alike. I believe they misunderstood our closeness but that only made our bond stronger. We still dress alike today. Whenever I go shopping, I always pick up just two of what.’ — Clinton and Lee
‘Delilah is my very best friend, and we’re hers, and we do not want that to change, we never want to be without each other. I feel much more comfortable when we are together. When we get it never lasts long because deep down we don’t want to be apart. Folks always ask what it is like to become a twin but how do we reply that if we do not know what it is like to not be a twin!?’ — Tululah and Delilah
‘When we were kids I wanted to become an astronomer and dijon desired to be an attorney but we’re currently studying business administration. We love being twins. Nothing beats having your best friend and brother wrapped into one. The only disadvantage is that when we are apart friends are always wrongly approaching the ‘other’ twin which gets embarrassing once you don’t understand who they are!’ — Devontay and Dijon
‘I remember when we were very little and spent the night apart for the first time, I felt so lonely, and I couldn’t stop crying. These times we are extremely different but also quite alike. Joe is much more amboyant, more colorful than me. He loves makeup and wishes to be a makeup artist daily. I like photography and enjoy being behind the scenes with my camera. The best thing about being a twin is being able to talk comfortably with one another and never needing to worry about being judged’ — Duke and Joe