A True Copy: Famous Images Recreated in Joakim Cortis & Adrian Sonderegger’s Project

In their studio photographers Joakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger reconstructed the world’s best known photographs: the Concorde take-off, the Loch Ness monster, the footprint of the first human on the Moon and many others.

Joakim Cortis & Adrian Sonderegger

Joakim was born in Aachen, Germany, Adrian is from Bülach, Switzerland. Both graduated from Zurich University of the Arts.

We both make our living through photography; we do commissions, but two years ago we decided to do something for our own pleasure. The “Icons” project started with Andreas Gursky’s photograph “Rhein II” that was at that moment the most expensive photograph in the world. Initially we had an idea to recreate only the most expensive photographs. Then we realized that it is too difficult – it is too much hard work trying to recreate a human from a picture by Cindy Sherman or Jeff Wall, for example. Besides, the choice of simpler images is not so big.

Our works are still-lives that imitate other genres of photography. We usually start by having an idea – one of us has an idea. Then we discuss it: is it a truly iconic shot? Is it world-famous or just locally-famous? Sometimes there are a few photographs of some kind of an important event. We need to pick the most famous one.

Then we start working on the technical side. It is much easier to reconstruct a tank than to recreate a human. We often work with models of tanks, cars, airplanes. Sometimes we make alterations to existing models (“Concorde”), sometimes we make our own (“Tiananmen”, “The Last Photo of the Titanic Afloat,” “Lakehurst”). The background and settings are also carefully recreated by hand. It is important to chose the right material: e.g., we use cement in order to imitate sand. We often use paper (“Olympia München” and “9/11”). It is essential is to put the camera in the right position, chose the right angle and never move it until the work is done. Sometimes it takes one or two days to recreate a picture (“Nessie”), sometimes two or three weeks (“Tiananmen”). The project is on-going, in the future we would like to make it into a book.

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_01.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 01”, “text”: “Rhein II, Andreas Gursky.”},
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_original_01.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 01”, “text”: “Rhein II, Andreas Gursky.”}

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_02.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 02”, “text”: “Tiananmen, Stuart Franklin.”},
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_original_02.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 02”, “text”: “Tiananmen, Stuart Franklin.”}

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_03.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 03”, “text”: “Left: 9/11, Sean Adair. Right: 208-N-43888, Charles Levy.”},
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_original_03.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 03”, “text”: “9/11, Sean Adair.”},
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_original_04.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 03”, “text”: “208-N-43888, Charles Levy.”}

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_04.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 04”, “text”: “Concorde, Toshihiko Sato.”},
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_original_05.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 04”, “text”: “Concorde, Toshihiko Sato.”}

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_05.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 05”, “text”: “AS11-40-5878, Edwin Aldrin.”},
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_original_06.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 05”, “text”: “AS11-40-5878, Edwin Aldrin.”}

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_07.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 07”, “text”: “Nessie, Marmaduke Wetherell.”},
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_original_07.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 07”, “text”: “Nessie, Marmaduke Wetherell.”}

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_08.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 08”, “text”: “Left: Mont Blanc, Louis-Auguste Bisson & Auguste-Rosalie Bisson. Right: Five Soldiers Silhouette at the Battle of Broodseinde, Ernest Brooks.”},
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_original_08.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 08”, “text”: “Mont Blanc, Louis-Auguste Bisson & Auguste-Rosalie Bisson.”},
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_original_09.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 08”, “text”: “Five Soldiers Silhouette at the Battle of Broodseinde, Ernest Brooks.”}

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_09.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 09”, “text”: “Olympia München, Ludwig Wegmann.”},
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_original_10.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 09”, “text”: “Olympia München, Ludwig Wegmann.”}

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_10.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 10”, “text”: “Abu Ghraib, unknown US soldier.”},
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_original_11.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 10”, “text”: “Abu Ghraib, unknown US soldier.”}

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_11.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 11”, “text”: “La cour du domaine du Gras, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.”},
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_original_12.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 11”, “text”: “La cour du domaine du Gras, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.”}

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_12.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 12”, “text”: “The Wright Brothers, John Thomas Daniels.”},
{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/icons_original_13.jpg”, “alt”: “Icons 12”, “text”: “The Wright Brothers, John Thomas Daniels.”}

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