Masterful Mashups Reveal How Similar the Celebrities of Today are to the Stars of Old


It turns out the rich, famous and powerful of today bear a striking resemblance to the rich, famous and powerful of yesteryear — at least if you trust the photo series Iconatomy by George Chamoun and the followup series Then & Now by Marc Ghali.

Chamoun, who is a Swedish jewelry design student at the Konstfack University of the Arts, actually debuted his Iconatomy series a few years back. By masterfully combining old photographs of beautiful people with their equivalent today, he showed the uncanny similarities between stars like George Clooney and Carey Grant, Scarlett Johansson and Marilyn Monroe and more.

“Lots of people think I have just made part of the picture black and white. I did so much more!” explained Chamoun in an interview with SSSQUARE. “Having experimented making the transitions faded I decided to keep the lines sharp. Sometimes, I look at the way they fit together and think ‘How did I do that?!’ The whole process was really fun.”

Here are Mr. Chamoun’s images:






The Iconatomy series, which only consists of the 5 mashups above, became a source of inspiration for photographer Marc Ghali, who created the similar series Then & Now.

Like Chamoun, Ghali combined portraits from past and present. The difference is that he expanded his range from movie stars to include other influential people, such as President Obama (juxtaposed with Malcolm X) and Princess Diana (juxtaposed with Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton).

Take a look:







To see more of Chamoun’s work be sure to head over to his website by clicking here, and if you’re interested in purchasing a print of any of the Iconatomy images you can do so on the SSSQUARE website here. More of Ghali’s work can be found on his Behance profile here.

(via Lost At E Minor)

Image credits: Images by George Chamoun used with permission. Images by Marc Ghali used in accordance with Creative Commons license.

Update: After posting these series yesterday, several commenters expressed their anger at the fact that we posed Ghali’s Chamoun-inspired work alongside Chamoun’s originals. For us, it really wasn’t something we did with the intention to stir up controversy or upset people. Ghali’s series isn’t quite on the same level as the original, but it is often (almost always, in fact) shared when Chamoun’s Iconatomy is presented.

Of course, that doesn’t make it the right move (everybody else does it so we did too is hardly good reasoning) and the comments that seemed to indicate Chamoun was probably upset by the ‘Then & Now’ series got us thinking. So we asked Mr. Chamoun what he thought of the followup and the fact that it is so often shared alongside his original series. (We also offered to remove it if he didn’t want the two shown side-by-side).

Here’s what he had to say:

I’m sorry in advance because I won’t be able to elaborate too much on this subject.

I have seen the pictures in question before. I do think they are very similar, especially in the way they are made and the execution. On the other hand, one can’t stop anyone else from being inspired by their work.

The downside is, some people have mistaken his work to be my work. Yesterday I got an angry email from a person who was upset that I had merged Rihanna and Diana Ross and I didn’t understand anything!

So there are both positives and negatives.

Feel free to let us know what you think of Mr. Chamoun’s response in the comments. As always, we appreciate your feedback and in the future will we promise to think more critically before crafting a post like this.

  • Peter Neill

    Does it really, or does it show that with one large group of people and another large group you will find some commonalities?

  • Thomas Soerenes

    To me, this just shows that Ghali tried to milk money off Chamoun’s project, but couldn’t do it as well as Chamoun.

  • Opie

    Truly, this is embarrassing. In what world is Ghali’s work lauded alongside Chamoun’s, instead of being derided as a blatant ripoff?

    The editors of Petapixel need to realize that plagiarism is one of the most serious problems an artist can face. Lending credence (not to mention free advertising) to those who engage in such pursuits is well beneath the standard of ethics to which we should all hold ourselves as creatively inclined individuals.

    Sure, it can sometimes be difficult to verify the originality of every project that comes across your desk (or screen), but in this particular case, the infringement is literally staring you right in the face.

  • Jerome

    For me the worst is not that it ‘s heavily “inspired”. I think it’s normal that concepts get copied if they are interesting. The problem for me is the fact that Petapixel shows the two like they are on the same level. Ghali’s work is made of approximations and looks like an early draft for Chamoun’s work. I especially like the fact that most of his pictures both eyes don’t even look in the same direction (not even approximately). I can’t see that work as a “follow-up”.

  • Eden Wong

    Sorry, but this particular example of Ghali’s “work” is embarrassing.
    Quite frankly I’m surprised it got past the editors here. Happy New

  • Burnin Biomass

    Dr. Frankenstein will approve.

  • Zos Xavius

    i’m not. ;)

    I think petapixel loves posting stuff like this because they either have odd tastes, they pick up on things that go viral (I’m sure this did), or they must love all the negative comments. I almost think they trolls us sometimes, but I could be wrong. I’ve learned to just ignore all the silly “art” projects, because they do bring some pretty interesting articles to the table. Truth is, its 2 days after New Years and news is pretty slow. What would you suggest they post?

  • csmif

    That’s just great that you guys are promoting and supporting flat out theft. well done!

  • Adam Cross

    these have been doing the blog rounds for a few years, petapixel slow on the uptake ;P

  • SaveTheWorldGetTheGirl

    I usually scroll through looking at the imagery before reading the text, I got halfway through and thought that suddenly the artist got lazy with his mashups as the quality seemed to take a big dive … then went on to read that the second half was Ghali’s “work.” The difference in quality is stark.

  • Fernando Callo

    Why only famous people?

  • junyo

    People in the olden times had eyes and hair and faces just like we do today?!!

    Mind. Blown.

  • OtterMatt

    There’s only one correct way to compare Robert Pattinson to James Dean. It goes like this: “James Dean is a film icon, but Robert Pattinson is a talentless hack.”

    Screw the supposed plagiarism, why is no one else outraged over THAT horrific blasphemy?

  • Sean Shipley

    I like Chamouns a lot but the Scarlett one just looks ugly

  • Try Again

    Because we’re artists and not teenybopping idiots? If you have an axe to grind, find a group who cares.

    If you really think *that* is the big injustice here, you’re in the wrong corner of the internet.

    A sentence that starts with “Screw the supposed plagiarism…” does not put you in good stead with the people this particular website was intended for.

  • OtterMatt

    Aw, you dropped your humor. I’m sorry, we’ll pass the hat to buy you some more. In the mean time, why don’t you brush up on identifying tongue-in-cheek comments?

  • debbie

    Why are you giving Marc Ghali exposure when all he did was rip off another artist? That’s insulting

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