• 08.12.14

These Eerie Portraits Show The Power Of Genes By Merging Two Faces Into One

Journey into the realm of extreme facial similarity with these merged portraits of family members and friends, courtesy of photographer Ino Zeljak.

Whenever a baby is born, so begins a lifelong guessing game of who he or she favors the most. Maybe this baby bears more of its father’s genetic imprimatur, maybe its mom’s. Perhaps the little one most closely resembles a previous edition of baby these two people brought into the world. Even when the child is an exact clone of one parent, though, the other in the equation is loathe to admit it. Perhaps in the future everyone will be using merged portraits like Ino Zeljak’s as definitive proof.


Digital facial manipulations have been in vogue this year, and Zeljak’s are only the latest. The Croatia-based photographer has been creating synched facial images for his series Metamorfoza that blur the line between people who look alike until the difference is negligible. Set against a simple background, the images pair up brothers and sisters, parents and children, and even some unrelated friends, adjoining their faces at some undetectable midway point. (The fact that they are wearing the same outfit does no favors to their individuality.)

The minimalist portraits revel in tiny differences, both subtle–puffiness around one eye, a pronounced vein along the cheek–and not so subtle–facial hair, different colored eyes. Seeing identical twins merged is surprising for the barely perceptible differences, and seeing mothers and daughters in facial lockstep brings forth the incredible similarities. If there was ever any dispute about these subjects’ familiar doppelgängers, consider it squashed forever. Have a look at more images in the slides above.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.