The photographic fascination with twins, by Martin Schoeller

Jan Ngm Cvr 2012 The January 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine, on newsstands now, features fascinating photos of twins by Martin Schoeller.

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Loretta (left); Lorraine (right)

When Loretta was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, Lorraine was in the doctor’s office with her. Loretta asked if Lorraine should be checked as well. The doctor discovered that Lorraine also had breast cancer. After receiving treatment, the sisters are both in good health.

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Marta (left); Emma (right)

The 15-year-old sisters want to go to the same university and become opera singers. They both like to draw as well but have a different approach to their art. Marta depicts finely detailed faces, while Emma prefers more expansive images: the sky, the rain, objects in motion.

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Jeff (left); Steve (right)

In grade school it didn’t matter that Jeff Nagel wasn’t good at spelling—Steve was. The twins dressed identically save for wristwatches, which could be secretly switched before a test. Now 44, they work different jobs in Ohio but still fool people sometimes. Jeff, a chef, once asked Steve to lend a hand at a catering gig. The guests became so alarmed at how quickly Jeff moved in and out of the kitchen that they told him to slow down, not realizing more than one man was on the job.

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Ramon (left); Eurides (right)

As infants, Ramon and Eurides looked so much alike that their mother gave them name bracelets so she wouldn’t get confused and feed the same child twice. Today at age 34, the twins are next-door neighbors in Florida, living in identical custom-built houses. A topic of family debate: Who has the fuller face? Ramon says it’s Eurides. Eurides (and the mother) say it’s Ramon. Mom thinks it’s because she mistakenly gave Eurides’s portion to the other twin.

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Emily (left); Kate (right)

The nine-year-olds get along well and also have a psychic shopping bond. Their mom sometimes takes them to the mall on separate occasions. Even when one twin doesn’t know what the other twin has selected, they typically want to buy the same clothes.

Photos ©Martin Schoeller/National Geographic