When we learn about historical figures, there isn’t necessarily much thought given to their direct descendants, unless those descendants were also noted for political or artistic accomplishments. That might be because the longer ago a famous person lived, the more dispersed their direct line becomes.
Photographer Drew Gardner has been working on a project in which he finds descendants of people who have changed history or been an important part of a cultural legacy. Then, using lighting, props, and costumes, he tries to recreate an image of them as their ancestor.
Gardner spoke to Bored Panda, telling them that he first thought of the idea when his mother remarked on how much he resembled his own grandfather.
“It got me thinking if I [really] looked like my grandfather and if people alive today would bear any resemblance to famous forebears,” he explained. His subjects have been chosen on a more important basis than family resemblance. He wants his subjects to be iconic.
“It is important that no matter what the person’s achievement that there is a degree of recognition or familiarity,” he explained. “This is not always possible but it is my starting point.”
Gardner has used the Internet to track down his subjects and the help of genealogists and museums. The photographs are interesting because of the way people look like someone from hundreds of years ago, but also for the ways they don’t, telling a story of change through time.
“Sometimes through the viewfinder, I feel a flash of recognition, though I am never sure if it is wishful thinking or more,” said Gardner.
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