When you're born into a family, you're likely to have a strong resemblance to one of your relatives. That's usually your mother or your father - and sometimes it's both! The likeness can sometimes skip a generation or two as well; on occasion, you may actually look more like your grandparents.
The subject of family resemblance has long been a source of fascination for a photographer called Ulric Colette, who lives in Quebec City, Canada. He's devoted years of his career for taking the topic and turning it into a form of art, combining family portraits side by side in unison.
The results of his work are incredible. They serve not only to highlight the things we physically have in common with our relatives, but also the things that make us distinctive and unique. This is a sample of his work, and it might inspire you to try it at home!
Ginette (61) and Ismaelle (12): Grandmother and Granddaughter
One of the things that's struck Colette the most when he's composing his genetic portraits is how much girls tend to look like their mother's mother. No picture he's created shows that better than this one of twelve-year-old Ismaelle and her grandmother Ginette.
This could easily be a time-lapsed photo of the same person at different stages of their life. Their eyes and the shape of their faces are almost identical. Even their hair is similar, although it's colored differently.
Genevieve (33) and Jean-Michel (30): Sister and Brother
You'd have thought that having a beard would mark Jean-Michel out as being very visibly different from his sister Genevieve, but when you put their images side by side like this, it doesn't make as big a difference as you might expect.
The fact that the siblings are so close together in age reinforces the strong family resemblance between the two of them. Aside from the facial hair, the only other noticeable difference is in the eyebrows. Unusually for mixed-gender siblings, they have the same lips.
Julie (61) and Isabelle (32): Mother and Daughter
Julie must have taken excellent care of herself to reach 61 and still look so much like her daughter, who's half her age! You can see a few wrinkles here and there which give away which side of the photo is Julie and which side is Isabelle, but aside from that, they're a perfect match.
It's said that distinctive features such as freckles can run in the family, and we can see proof of that in this picture. Every facial feature is in the same place and has the same shape.
Claude (52) and Benoit (23): Father and Son
We'd love to see a picture of Benoit's mother for context because looking at this, we can't see how he could have received any genetic material from her at all. He's a dead ringer for his father, Claude, right down to the shape of his ears.
You can even see suggestions that Benoit's hairline is beginning to shape itself in the same way his father's had. This portrait is almost a reference guide that allows Benoit to see exactly what he's going to look like when he gets older.
Ulric (34) and Justine (34): Cousins
Do you recognize the name of the male subject in this portrait? That's right; it's our photographer himself, Ulric Colette. He wanted to include himself in his project in order to demonstrate that matches like this can occur in any family.
Ulric and his cousin Justine are the same age, but they're not strongly related to each other. With a resemblance like this, you'd think they were twins if you saw them together, but they're not. We're guessing that he Colette genes must be particularly strong!
Anne-Sophie (19) and Pascale (16): Sisters
Sisters often look alike. Colette has consistently found that the resemblance between female members of a family is stronger than the resemblance between male members. This is the picture that proves his point perfectly.
Three years separate sisters Anne-Sophie and Pascale, but they look like twins. In fact, if we hadn't already told you that this is a composite image, you'd almost certainly think it was just a portrait photo of one person. Anne-Sophie might have a few more freckles than Pascale, but not by much.
Madined (41) and Kristof (19): Mother and Son
After looking at this, we don't need to ask where Kristof got his hair from. It clearly comes from his mother, Madined, and he's even decided to wear it in the same style! This image makes us think hard about gender-specific features.
We've always thought that some features look masculine, and other features look feminine. Now we've seen this, we're not so sure. Would you know which of these two relatives was male or female if we hadn't already given you the information?
Karine (29) and Dany (25): Brother and Sister
Some judicious use of lighting and blending effects have been employed by Colette to make a case for siblings Karine and Dany to look alike here. Karine has a beard and a fuller face than his sister Dany, but Colette has worked had to shift the focus away from that.
Strangely, the fact that they wear their hair so differently doesn't seem to matter. All your focus is drawn to how similar their eyes, nose, and mouth seem to be. If Karine shaved and straightened his hair, he could probably pass for Dany.
Laurence (20) and Christine (20): Twins
It won't surprise anyone to see that twins are so much alike, but this picture highlights just how close the resemblance is. There's absolutely nothing to pick between their faces at all - both sides appear to belong to the same girl.
Helpfully, Laurence has styled her hair differently and put an earring in so we can tell them apart. Even then, this could just as easily be a single picture of a girl with a modern, fashionable hairstyle.
Jean-Philippe (29) and Veronique (27): Brother and Sister
When Jean-Philippe first saw this picture, we wonder whether he considered a new hairstyle for himself? We're reasonably sure that most of the pile of hair on his head in the image belongs to his sister Veronique, but there's no denying that it suits him.
If you're anything like us, you were probably so stuck by their facial similarity that you missed a critical detail: the siblings actually have different eye colors. Do you see it now? The fact they have identical eyebrows totally threw us!
Ulric (29) and Christophe (30): Brothers
We told you that Colette is very enthusiastic about his genetic portrait series, and so it's not a surprise to see that he's used himself as a subject more than once. Here he is at the age of 29 next to his older brother, Christophe.
As everything from the slightly wild hair to the hint of stubble is identical, we'll help you out with this. Ulric is the one on the left of the picture as you look at it. Even their parents must have problems telling them apart.
Rejeane (64) and Marilene (35): Mother and Daughter
Rejeane is clearly the older of the two in this picture, and there's a starker contrast between the pair featured here than in the majority of Colette's images. That doesn't mean that there aren't still similarities, though.
First off, Rejeane and Marilene have very similar taste in earrings. Secondly, they may go to the same person to have their hair cut and styled! If Marilene looked upon this picture as a window into her future, we hope she liked what she saw.
Andre (55) and Ariane (13): Father and Daughter
You would expect to see a very big difference between a middle-aged man and his teenage daughter, and so we shouldn't be surprised that there are many factors that Andre and Ariane don't share, including their drastically different eyes.
While Andre is a little more heavy-set than Ariane, he's still given her some of his features. She has his mouth and nose, and also appears to have the same face shape. The texture and color of Ariane's hair might come from Andre too.
Claudette (81) and Marie-Andree (55): Mother and Daughter
This is the genetic portrait that suggests we may begin to lose our resemblance to our relatives as we get older. Claudette is the oldest of all Colette's subjects, and she seems strikingly different from her daughter Marie-Andree.
Some of the differences stem from the effects of age and time on Claudette; her eyes and face shape might once have been a closer match for her daughter. She still has the same mouth and nose, though, and this is probably how Marie-Andree's hair will look one day!
Laval (56) and Vincent (29): Father and Son
Even though Vincent is only 29, he's already lost most of his hair. He probably already blamed his father Laval for that, but this picture is compelling proof of Laval's culpability - they have identical hairlines!
The slightly odd-looking portrait is a result of Laval's eyes being so different from his son's, so Vincent's eyes must have come from his mother. Based on the evidence, though, we think her eyes must have been all he took from her. Everything else is uncanny.
Ham (64) and Sophea (37): Father and Daughter
There are some resemblances that are so strong that even the effects of age and a difference in gender can't mask them. Ham is almost thirty years older than his daughter Sophea, is male, and has lost his hair. Despite that, you can still see she came from him.
What's puzzling here is that there's a resemblance even though the features don't match up. His nose is bigger, his lips are thinner, and his eyes are smaller. Is it all just down to the shape of their faces?
Veronique (32) and Catherine (26): Sisters
When this picture was released, Colette was accused of taking the whole mouth and smile from one of the girls rather than blending them together. He didn't, though. They have identical smiles and teeth, but if you look closely, their lips are slightly different.
Veronique is older than her sister Catherine by six years, and we think that age difference is just-about visible in this image, but barely. If Veronique had worn her hair in front of her ear for the photo, it might have been impossible to tell them apart.
Jill (25) and Roxanne (22): Sisters
These two sisters simultaneously have a lot in common, and a lot to mark them out as unique individuals. Their noses are differently-sized, and they have markedly different eyes. Even their lips are different.
Despite all of that, we have no doubt that they're sisters because their face shape and skin tone is the same, and even though they've styled their hair a little differently, it's the same texture and color. They'd never pass for twins, but you'd still recognize them as sisters.
Loyd (30) and Jean-Philippe (27): Brothers
This picture must have been a lot of fun for Colette to put together. What are the chances that brothers Loyd and Jean-Philippe would have identical beards, right down to the color and the length? We can't even work out where the two are joined together!
We were so focused on the beards that we nearly missed the fact that they have different eye colors, but aside from that, it looks like the picture was taken on a day where Loyd woke up and decided to shave off half his hair.
Ginette (61) and Mathieu (30): Mother and Son
You might recall seeing Ginette elsewhere on the list, where she was paired up with her granddaughter Ismaelle. She liked the portrait so much that she came back to Colette for another one, this time with her son Mathieu, who is Ismaelle's father.
There's very obviously a strong set of genes in this family. Ginette looks even more like her son than she does her granddaughter, and that's despite the fact that Mathieu has a beard. If Ginette ever went out disguised as a man, this is what she'd look like!
Laurence (25) and Christine (25): Twins
Here's another familiar pair of faces - or should that be a singular face? It's Christine and Laurence, who Colette photographed when they were 20. They enjoyed the experience so much that they came back when they were 25 to have it done again.
They've pulled a fiercer expression this time, and so it's easier to tell them apart. Strangely, the most telling difference between them is their lips and their teeth. They've moved in very different directions with their hairstyles, too. Even then, the family likeness is still there.
Annie-Claude (39) and Marie-Eve (39): Twins
Not all twins are identical, as we can see here with Annie-Claude and Marie-Eve. They might have the same eye color, but the shape of those eyes isn't a match. There's a difference in the shape of the mouth as well, although that may just be because Annie-Claude is smiling more.
The resemblance here all comes from the nose, the shape of the face, and the hair. We find ourselves almost wishing that they'd worn their hair the same way just to underline the similarities.
N'sira (49) and Marie-Pier (18): Mother and Daughter
When N'sira and Marie-Pier were a little younger, they used to be mistaken for sisters regularly. We can see why. The contrast might be becoming a little starker now that N'sira is approaching 50, but their faces are very much alike.
Marie-Pier has inherited her eyes, her nose, her mouth, and her hair from her mother. This picture should reassure her that she has nothing to worry about when she gets older. If she looks like her mom, she'll be doing just fine.
Mireille (37) and Maxim (16): Mother and Daughter
Yes, you read that correctly, this pairing isn't siblings, they're a mother and her daughter. You might have worked out that it's Mirielle on the right as you look at the photo, and she's visibly a little older, but it probably took you a moment to see it!
Maxim has her father's eyes, but everything apart from that is the same. They could have looked even more similar than this, because Mirielle's hair is dyed red. When it isn't, her natural shade is the same as Maxim's!
Eric (39) and Dany (31): Brothers
Eric's lost all of his hair, and he's picked up a few silver fillings on his journey through life. Other than that, there's very little to pick between him and his brother Dany at all. On the evidence of this, perhaps Dany should be enjoying his hair while he still can!
At least Dany can take comfort in the fact that his beard won't have gone gray by the time he reaches Eric's age - and also that he'll still be able to pull off the same rock and roll pose.
Laurence (59) and Ludwig (33): Mother and Son
We're going to have to assume that Ludwig was a big fan of his mother's hairstyle when he was growing up, because he's decided to take it for himself. It's either that or their hair is so naturally thick and wavy that there's nothing else that can be done with it.
Laurence isn't far from being twice her son's age, but you'd never know that from looking at this. He's only a shave away from being able to use his mother's passport when he's going through airport security.
Pascale (45) and David (36): Sister and Brother
Our first thought upon seeing this picture is that we urgently need to find out more about Pascale's skincare routine, because she looks incredibly youthful for someone who's 45. She's almost a decade older than David, and yet you'd never know that from this image.
The likeness between the two would probably be even closer if it weren't for two things: firstly, there's a glimpse of David's facial hair showing, and secondly, Pascale was wearing lipstick when her picture was taken.
Gabrielle (28) and Lea (25): Sisters
Once again, we're relying on the eyes of these sisters to confirm to us that we're not looking at an image of the same person. There's also a very slight difference between their nose. The mouth, though, could all belong to one woman.
From their hairstyles, it looks like wavy hair runs in their family, although Lea looks like she straightens hers more than her older sister Gabrielle does. The three-year age gap between them isn't visible anywhere at all in the picture.
Ismaelle (12) and Nathan (11): Sister and Brother
This family was obviously almost as enamored with Colette's work as the artist himself. We saw Ismaelle earlier on with her grandmother Ginette. Then we saw Ginette with Ismaelle's father. Now here's Ismaelle for a second time, with her younger brother!
This is probably the least-similar genetic portrait of the whole family. There's still an obvious family resemblance, but it's very easy to see where Ismaelle ends, and Nathan begins. Perhaps he takes more after his mother.
Alex (20) and Sandrine (20): Twins
Being a mixed-sex pair of twins can be difficult when you're growing up. The last thing a little boy wants to be told is that he looks like his sister, and nor would a little girl want to look like her brother! Now that Alex and Sandrine are both 20, they're easier to tell apart than they used to be.
Perhaps the constant comparisons to his sister are what made Alex decide to keep his hair short and grow some stubble. We think Sandrine might do a little bit of eyebrow maintenance, too!
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