Fueled by his passion for history, photographer Drew Gardner recreated portraits of some of the world's most famous historical figures, featuring their direct descendants as models.

Getting ready for the series required much more than a few phone calls. Not only did Gardner carry out in-depth research tracing the direct descendants and verifying their lineage, but he also created sets with painstaking attention to the smallest of details. In the end, however, all of the hard work paid off. Sourcing the period costumes and props created such authentic backgrounds, they look like something straight out of a history book. Gardner even carefully analyzed the lighting in each original portrait and patiently recreated them as closely as possible, using all kinds of gear and techniques.

The end result is something that you'd find in the 'different but same' category. Of course, in a totally good way.

More info: drewgardner.com | Facebook | Instagram

#1

Thomas Jefferson (Left), 1800 And Shannon Lanier (Right) Sixth Great-Grandson Of Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson (Left), 1800 And Shannon Lanier (Right) Sixth Great-Grandson Of Thomas Jefferson

Drew Gardner Report

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 month ago

This is awesome! The history guides/docents at Jefferson's famed "Monticello" still turn colors and stutter if you ask a blunt question about Sally Hemings. If you don't know, look it up... Their white-marble-statue man must never be associated with anything but the Declaration!... So I visit there every other year and when they ask if we have questions, I ask, "Where did Sally Hemings and her kids by Jefferson sleep?" :-)

View More Replies...
View more comments

You could say the series began 15 years ago when Gardner's mother told him that he looked a lot like his grandfather. "It got me thinking if I [really] looked like my grandfather and if people alive today would bear any resemblance to famous forebears," the photographer told Bored Panda.

There are a number of criteria based on which Gardner chooses the photos he's going to recreate but the more iconic an image is, the better. "It is important that no matter what the person’s achievement that there is a degree of recognition or familiarity. This is not always possible but it is my starting point."

#2

Charles Dickens (Left), 1858 And Gerald Charles Dickens (Right) Dickens's, Great-Great-Grandson

Charles Dickens (Left), 1858 And Gerald Charles Dickens (Right) Dickens's, Great-Great-Grandson

Drew Gardner Report

tuzdayschild
Community Member
1 month ago

Definite resemblance

View More Replies...
View more comments

The Internet helps Gardner track down the descendants, but he also works with genealogists and museums. The true magic, however, happens when the photographer starts working with his models. The whole process allows Gardner to form strong connections with the people standing in front of his camera. "Any human connection tends to come about from conversation, so it is more as a result of the dialogue between the two of us in the days, weeks, months or even years running up to the shoot which gives me a 'window' to them as a person and when they expand on their understanding of their forebear, it does deepen the mutual understanding and connection we have, which clearly helps when it comes to the shoot," Gardner explained.

"Sometimes through the viewfinder, I feel a flash of recognition, though I am never sure if it is wishful thinking or more." As for the resemblance, Gardner leaves the viewer to make up their own mind on that. "I do not set out to say that the descendant does or does not look like their forebear."

#3

Emeline Pankhurst (Left) And Helen Pankhurst (Right) The Great-Granddaughter Of Emeline Pankhurst

Emeline Pankhurst (Left) And Helen Pankhurst (Right) The Great-Granddaughter Of Emeline Pankhurst

Drew Gardner Report

El Dee
Community Member
1 month ago

This actually just looks like two photographs of the same woman!!

View More Replies...
View more comments
#4

Napoleon (Left), 1812 And Hugo De Salis (Right) The Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson Of Napoleon

Napoleon (Left), 1812 And Hugo De Salis (Right) The Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson Of Napoleon

Drew Gardner Report

Kevin Donegan
Community Member
1 month ago

The resemblance is striking.

jasper
Community Member
1 month ago

No, but the costuming and scene setting is remarkable!

Load More Replies...
Sandra Lawrence
Community Member
1 month ago

Those pants don't look good on anyone do they?!?

Liam Walsh
Community Member
1 month ago

Certainly would look terrible on me!

Load More Replies...
Sinkvenice
Community Member
1 month ago

Goodness, fourth grandson and he looks just like him!

Murielle Robeet
Community Member
1 month ago

Napoléon only had one son who died at the age of 21, childless. The branch went extinct. This man might be a descendant of one of Napoléon's brothers or sisters. But not a direct descendant.

Neil Wolfe
Community Member
1 month ago

You are quite right, Murielle. Napoleon had seven siblings. This man is one of their descendants.

Load More Replies...
Vic
Community Member
1 month ago

Great resemblance, considering they are born-apart

Anthony Murphy
Community Member
1 month ago

Your pun was perfect! Lol

Load More Replies...
Martin Vincent
Community Member
4 weeks ago

Father dougal ! There you are!!!

Tammy Ralph
Community Member
3 weeks ago

I was just about to say the same, it's the mad eyes.

Load More Replies...
Martha Higgins
Community Member
1 month ago

Eyes and mouth are alike, nose, not so much, but the resemblance is uncanny.

Jon S.
Community Member
1 month ago

The Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson looks like someone has just done something shocking to his posterior.

Shirin Kamer
Community Member
2 weeks ago

Not much of a resemblance. It is the scene that makes us think they resemble.

Kim Bush
Community Member
3 weeks ago

How many people know why this pose is so famous, with his hand inside his shirt...

the child
Community Member
3 weeks ago

He seems to think his great-great-great-great grandfather didn't have very good fashion taste

Lorraine R
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Same mouth.

Shelby P
Community Member
3 weeks ago

what's with the smirk /smug glare on the grandson?

TomiSmith
Community Member
1 month ago

What’s up doc? The clock is wrong.

Matthew Brown
Community Member
1 month ago

shit man

Sonka
Community Member
1 month ago

who was his Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandmother ?????

Mildred Thompson
Community Member
1 month ago

YES!

KEARA MALONE
Community Member
1 month ago

i love how they recreate the older pictures.

Stuart MacKenzie
Community Member
1 month ago

Europe better watch out.

Gloria J Williams
Community Member
1 month ago

Almost twins, amazing.

Joyce Berman
Community Member
1 month ago

Same tummy!

Karen Hock
Community Member
1 month ago

Yikes!

Linda Bartlett
Community Member
1 month ago

The set recreation is remarkable!

Aynne Pryce
Community Member
1 month ago

Dang

Marsha Brown
Community Member
1 month ago

Don't see any significant resemblance. Perhaps the chin.

Michelle Muirhead
Community Member
1 month ago

Same sort of smirk.

Carrie Leung
Community Member
1 month ago

not any taller

Dorothy Parker
Community Member
1 month ago

Napoleon, smirking and askew.

Bettye McKee
Community Member
1 month ago

The scene reconstruction encourages you to think there's a resemblance, but the faces are not very alike.

Mónica Elisabeth Sacco
Community Member
1 month ago

Brits, beware! He's back!

Sam T Godfrey
Community Member
1 month ago

The original painting, compared to others of Napoleon is very different. I think the artists were trying to please him! They do look similar though.

Amber Sanders Amlie
Community Member
1 month ago

They even got the clock right!

Debster
Community Member
1 month ago

And one is a painting...wonder if they resembled eachother even more.

El Dee
Community Member
1 month ago

In this I can not only see facial resemblance but also his build seems to be exactly the same as his ancestor, amazing!

Ella Blackwood
Community Member
1 month ago

I can see it, a bit, but not as strong as the others.

Mildred Thompson
Community Member
1 month ago

They surely wore their pants tight back in 1812!

View More Replies...
View more comments
#5

Oliver Cromwell (Left), 1653-1654 And Charles Bush (Right) The Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson Of Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell (Left), 1653-1654 And Charles Bush (Right) The Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson Of Oliver Cromwell

Drew Gardner Report

El Dee
Community Member
1 month ago

Not so much except for the NOSE, which is exactly the same!!

View More Replies...
View more comments
#6

Frederick Douglass (Left), 1863 And Reuben L. Andrews (Right)

Frederick Douglass (Left), 1863 And Reuben L. Andrews (Right)

Drew Gardner Report

Vanessa Yvonne
Community Member
1 month ago

This is Frederick Douglass, not "Fredrick Douglas"

View More Replies...
View more comments
#7

Charles II (Left), 1653 And Lord Charles Fitzroy (Right) The 9 Times Great-Grandson Of Charles II

Charles II (Left), 1653 And Lord Charles Fitzroy (Right) The 9 Times Great-Grandson Of Charles II

Drew Gardner Report

CG2018
Community Member
1 month ago

Relative of Inigo Montoya? LOL

View More Replies...
View more comments
#8

Liza De Giocondo (The Mona Lisa) (Left) And Irina Guicciardini Strozzi (Right) The 15 Times Great Granddaughter Of Liza De Giocondo

 Liza De Giocondo (The Mona Lisa) (Left) And Irina Guicciardini Strozzi (Right) The 15 Times Great Granddaughter Of Liza De Giocondo

Drew Gardner Report

Shelp
Community Member
1 month ago

Wow, how did they find her?

View More Replies...
View more comments
#9

Berthe Morisot (Left), 1872 And Lucie Rouart (Right) The Great-Granddaughter Of Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot (Left), 1872 And Lucie Rouart (Right) The Great-Granddaughter Of Berthe Morisot

Drew Gardner Report

Mildred Thompson
Community Member
1 month ago

YES!

View more comments
#10

Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke Of Wellingston (Left), 1824 And Jeremy Clyde (Right) The Great-Great-Great-Grandson Of The 1st Duke Of Wellington

Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke Of Wellingston (Left), 1824 And Jeremy Clyde (Right) The Great-Great-Great-Grandson Of The 1st Duke Of Wellington

Drew Gardner Report

El Dee
Community Member
1 month ago

The resemblance is striking and, as with Napoleon, the build of the two is exactly the same!!

View More Replies...
View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#11

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Left), 1850 And Elizabeth Jenkins-Sahlin (Right)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Left), 1850 And Elizabeth Jenkins-Sahlin (Right)

Drew Gardner Report

Kathy Baylis
Community Member
1 month ago

Striking resemblance.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#12

William Wordsworth (Left), 1798 Andtom Wontner (Right) Wordsworth's Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson

William Wordsworth (Left), 1798 Andtom Wontner (Right) Wordsworth's Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson

Drew Gardner Report

Andres Tejeda
Community Member
1 month ago

Actually they bare a very strong resemblance.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#13

Horatio Nelson (Left), 1800 And William John Raglan Horatio Tribe (Right) Nelson's Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson

Horatio Nelson (Left), 1800 And William John Raglan Horatio Tribe (Right) Nelson's Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson

Drew Gardner Report

John D
Community Member
1 month ago

Is this 'Noratio Nelsom' the generic version of Horatio Nelson? Asking for a friend.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#14

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 1857 (Left) And Isambard Thomas (Right), Brunel's Great-Great-Great-Grandson

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 1857 (Left) And Isambard Thomas (Right), Brunel's Great-Great-Great-Grandson

Drew Gardner Report

Kevin Donegan
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm more impressed by the size of the chain behind them. Wow!

View More Replies...
View more comments
#15

Clive Of India, Robert Clive, 1773 (Left) And Robert Holden (Right) The Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson Of Clive Of India

Clive Of India, Robert Clive, 1773 (Left) And Robert Holden (Right) The Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson Of Clive Of India

Drew Gardner Report

Annemarie Mattheyse
Community Member
1 month ago

The major difference: Clive of India likely didn't have teeth...

View More Replies...
View more comments