CHICAGO — “You have your father’s eyes,” people like to tell me when they meet me and my dad at the same time. Inherited biological traits are commonplace, of course — we are the product of two people mating. French-Canadian photographer Ulric Collette’s photo series Genetic Portraits presents viewers with this truth of genetics in a way that’s so simple and straightforward, you’ll slap yourself across the face for not thinking of it. Or rather, you’ll slap the cheek that you got from your mother, and the nose you inherited from your father.
While these photographs take advantage more of digital technology than science itself, they can be considered scientifically-inspired due to the focus on genetics. Scientific inquiry has a way of baffling laymen, whether it’s through sheep cloning or artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s Stranger Visions project, which excerpts DNA from a single strand of human hair to construct three-dimensional face models.
Collette banks on this fascination with the visual manifestations of genetics, the biological laws of trait inheritance from parents to offspring. For Genetic Portraits, he photographs two family members, slices those images down the middle, and then seamlessly Photoshops them together. Think about this next time you look into a family member’s eyes, and realize that you’re looking at someone who is practically you.