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Canadian Photographer Finds Uncanny Lookalikes
April 18, 2013
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doppelganger-glasses.jpg
Photo: Francois Brunelle/Al Jazeera

Have you ever wondered if there's someone out there in the world who looks exactly like you? Or maybe even more than that: someone who shares your mannerisms, your way of standing, or even some part of your being?

Montreal-based photographer Francois Brunelle is fascinated by the idea of doubles, or "lookalikes" as he calls them, and he's gathered together quite a few to create this photo series, which he calls "I am not a lookalike."

Believe it or not, none of the people on this page are related to one another. They are all lookalikes who were brought together by Brunelle as part of his project.

The idea came to him, in part, after a visit to the bank.

"I was in a bank and behind the counter, I saw what I thought was the husband of a friend and I was surprised that he was working in a bank. He's not supposed to work here," Brunelle told Al Jazeera.

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Photo: Francois Brunelle/Al Jazeera

He asked the man how he'd ended up in a new job, and they talked for several minutes before Brunelle realized that this was not the person he thought it was, but a lookalike.

The strange conversation gave him an idea for a photograph.

"A few months later, I got him together with my friend's husband and they were among my first sets of lookalikes."

It wasn't just the bank meeting that got Brunelle thinking about doppelgangers. For years, his friends had told him that he looked like Mr. Bean, a character he'd never actually seen before.

doppelganger-birds.jpg
Photo: Francois Brunelle/Al Jazeera

When he finally saw footage of Rowan Atkinson playing the role, he wasn't too happy.

"I realized 'oh my God, I do look like this guy. I don't want to be this guy,'" he said.

Since then, Brunelle has found a different lookalike that he's more comfortable with, a Montreal actor who is taller and younger than he is, but who looks like he could be a twin.

doppelganger-girl-and-guy.jpg
Photo: Francois Brunelle/Al Jazeera

The photographer says his project isn't just about looks, though: "It's not just the looks, the appearance," he said, "it's a way of being, the way people stand, hold themselves, walk, sit, talk even."

As for how he brings his subjects together, a lot of it happens online - he gets a lot of emails from people around the world asking him to match them up with their double.

doppelganger-laytons.jpg
Photo: Francois Brunelle/Al Jazeera

His goal is to take 200 photos in all, but he also hopes the work continues once he's finished.

"I may stop when I've got around 200 pairs but someone should keep going. Maybe we should all have a lookalike."

doppelganger-tanks.jpg

Even if no one else decides to pick up Brunelle's project, doppelgangers turn up in real life from time to time.

For instance: check out this unbelievable shot from an Ottawa Senators game this January:

double-sens.jpg

The man in front is Senators head coach Paul MacLean. Behind him is Mike Watson, a lookalike so similar to MacLean it seems like he must have been placed there as a joke.

But according to Sportsnet, the whole thing was a coincidence. Watson got the great seats through his work, and just happens to be the spitting image of MacLean.

Pictures of the two men went viral online, but Watson says he didn't notice - he doesn't even own a cellphone.

UPDATE: As a commenter pointed out, Mike Watson did actually position himself behind coach MacLean intentionally. It was a last-minute decision before the game to dress up like the coach in the hopes of getting MacLean's attention.

In the end, MacLean didn't notice, but a lot of other people did. Watson said "All we wanted to do was be a couple of boys having a couple of beers, a couple of laughs, and let's go home. I've had my 15 minutes of fame. It'll die down quick, then back to reality."

Photo: Francois Brunelle/Al Jazeera

Via Al Jazeera

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