Strange Portraits Created by Combining Multiple Shots of the Same Person

If the book Frankenstein were written about the subject of photography, then French photographer Grégoire Cheneau would be Victor Frankenstein and his Altered States portraits would be Frankenstein’s monster(s). Upon first glance, many of the portraits seem to be harshly-lit shots of ordinary — albeit strange looking — people. Upon closer inspection, however, you start noticing that there’s something off about them.

Your eyes do not deceive you. Cheneau did take photographs of ordinary subjects, but it’s what he did afterward that led to the creepiness. After snapping multiple photographs of each subject from slightly different angles, Cheneau took to Photoshop and assembled composite portraits, harvesting body parts from separate shots.

In fact, Cheneau says that in each photo, pretty much every body part you see is from a different photo.

That fact that Cheneau tries to blend the photographs together seamlessly causes the portraits to dip into the uncanny valley — the place where images of people that are slightly different than what humans should look like cause a reaction of revulsion among viewers.

Cheneau has self-published the work as a photo book that has been selected as one of American Photo Magazine’s books of the year. If you’d like a copy you’ll have to contact Cheneau directly through his website.

Image credits: Photographs by Grégoire Cheneau and used with permission

  • posesawkwardly

    They kind of look dead. Creepy.

  • Dave Reynolds

    So basically, he went through a lot of effort to make people unattractive. I understand that not all portraits are “attractive.” My point is that there are simpler ways of making people creepy or ugly. This is another example of PetaPixel’s infatuation with unique process for the sake of unique process.

  • Samcornwell

    A few years ago I attempted something similar to this, although no where near as successful, and quite frankly (excuse the pun) amateur.

    But what the hell. I called ‘em Picasso portraits and here they are. Just a bit silly!

  • Zak Henry

    I would have liked to see a side by side with one of the stills from the original photoshoot. For all we know these people actually look like that.

  • quickpick

    nicely bizarre feel to these, actually quite painterly touch also alà lucien freud and peers..

  • 773metric

    Good art has more layers to it than the thing we eventually see. Sometimes the process is more important than the end result, and that’s okay; sometimes the end result is more important than the process; sometimes they’re both equally significant. In this case I think they’re inseparable. It’s missing the point to say that this is a waste of time because there are simpler ways of making people ugly. Of course there are, but I doubt very much whether that was the ultimate aim, and I’d be disappointed if it was.

    I wouldn’t want to hang any of these on my wall (especially not if any of them were of me!), but I think they’re fascinating.

  • photosforus

    Just as a warning, some of the stuff on his site is VERY NSFW.

  • Antonio Carrasco

    They all look like crackheads… I like

  • Mr Gubrz

    I like yours much more!

  • Pramanaya Prema Tjokronegoro

    Sam.. yours is waaayyyy better than the ones above. But hey, that’s what experimenting is for, right..? I’ll try and make some like yours..

  • rtfe

    what about the previously featured photographer that projected people’s faces onto their own faces? those photos look quite similar in tonality. also, when you’re naming a piece of artwork or a series, or even a book try to come up with an original title, or at least a title that hasn’t been used before. “Altered States” refers instantly to Paddy Chayefsky’s novel and also the well known movie by the same name starring William Hurt who takes psychedelic drugs and turns into a wild animal.

  • Flame On

    I like both the concepts, but I prefer yours – Hockney meets Picasso.

  • 32photog

    so much effort to create ugly pictures…..

  • madmax

    Is this a project about cross-eyed people? The idea is good but not accomplished in a aesthetically pleasant way.

  • 11

    I like your’s more actually. Pretty good!

  • Jordan

    Aside from the slightly uneasy feeling these images give me, there’s some pretty shonky Photoshop work going on right there.

  • Mark Wheadon

    FWIW I prefer yours as well.

  • studio 17b

    Creepy vibe. They kind of look like photos that a serial killer would take of his victims.

  • Oskar?

    The project is almost pointless as long as the viewer is missing the reference, i.e. the unaltered subject image. I see nothing out of ordinary nor creepy in all those images.

  • Gabriela Gallas

    It seems to me like a photographic Cubism