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15 Side-By-Side Portraits Of Famous Historical Figures And Their Direct Descendants

Fueled by his passion for history, photographer Drew Gardner recreated portraits of some of the world’s most famous historical figures, featuring their direct descendants as models.

Getting ready for the series required much more than a few phone calls. Not only did Gardner carry out in-depth research tracing the direct descendants and verifying their lineage, but he also created sets with painstaking attention to the smallest of details. In the end, however, all of the hard work paid off. Sourcing the period costumes and props created such authentic backgrounds, they look like something straight out of a history book. Gardner even carefully analyzed the lighting in each original portrait and patiently recreated them as closely as possible, using all kinds of gear and techniques.

The end result is something that you’d find in the ‘different but same’ category. Of course, in a totally good way.

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#1 Thomas Jefferson (Left), 1800 And Shannon Lanier (Right) Sixth Great-Grandson Of Thomas Jefferson

Image credits: Drew Gardner

You could say the series began 15 years ago when Gardner’s mother told him that he looked a lot like his grandfather. “It got me thinking if I [really] looked like my grandfather and if people alive today would bear any resemblance to famous forbears,” the photographer told Funscrape.

There are a number of criteria based on which Gardner’s choosing the photos he’s going to recreate but the more iconic an image is, the better. “It is important that no matter what the person’s achievement that there is a degree of recognition or familiarity. This is not always possible but it is my starting point.”

#2 Charles Dickens (Left), 1858 And Gerald Charles Dickens (Right) Dickens’s, Great-Great-Grandson

Image credits: Drew Gardner

The Internet really helps Gardner to track down the descendants, but he also works with genealogists and museums. True magic, however, happens when the photographer starts working with his models. The whole process allows Gardner to form connections not only with the people in front of his camera but their ancestors as well. “Any human connection tends to come about from conversation, so it is more as a result of the dialogue between the two of us in the days, weeks, months or even years running up to the shoot which gives me a ‘window’ to them as a person and when they expand on their understanding of their forebear it does deepen the mutual understanding and connection we have, which clearly helps when it comes to the shoot,” Gardner explained. 

“Sometimes through the viewfinder, I feel a flash of recognition, though I am never sure if it is wishful thinking or more.” As for the resemblance, Gardner leaves the viewer to make their own mind up on that. “I do not set out to say that the descendant does or does not look like their forebear.”

#3 Emeline Pankhurst (Left) And Helen Pankhurst (Right) The Great-Granddaughter Of Emeline Pankhurst

Image credits: Drew Gardner

#4 Napoleon (Left), 1812 And Hugo De Salis (Right) The Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson Of Napoleon

Image credits: Drew Gardner

#5 Oliver Cromwell (Left), 1653-1654 And Charles Bush (Right) The Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson Of Oliver Cromwell

Image credits: Drew Gardner

#6 Liza De Giocondo (The Mona Lisa) (Left) And Irina Guicciardini Strozzi (Right) The 15 Times Great Granddaughter Of Liza De Giocondo

Image credits: Drew Gardner

#7 Frederick Douglass (Left), 1863 And Reuben L. Andrews (Right)

Image credits: Drew Gardner

#8 Charles II (Left), 1653 And Lord Charles Fitzroy (Right) The 9 Times Great-Grandson Of Charles II

Image credits: Drew Gardner

#9 Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke Of Wellingston (Left), 1824 And Jeremy Clyde (Right) The Great-Great-Great-Grandson Of The 1st Duke Of Wellington

Image credits: Drew Gardner

#10 Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Left), 1850 And Elizabeth Jenkins-Sahlin (Right)

Image credits: Drew Gardner

#11 William Wordsworth (Left), 1798 Andtom Wontner (Right) Wordsworth’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson

Image credits: Drew Gardner

#12 Berthe Morisot (Left), 1872 And Lucie Rouart (Right) The Great-Granddaughter Of Berthe Morisot

Image credits: Drew Gardner

#13 Horatio Nelson (Left), 1800 And William John Raglan Horatio Tribe (Right) Nelson’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson

Image credits: Drew Gardner

#14 Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 1857 (Left) And Isambard Thomas (Right), Brunel’s Great-Great-Great-Grandson

Image credits: Drew Gardner

#15 Clive Of India, Robert Clive, 1773 (Left) And Robert Holden (Right) The Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson Of Clive Of India

Image credits: Drew Gardner

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