The twins who have never been apart
There's a new photo book about two 54-year old twins who live and do everything together
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One hot Summer afternoon in 2016, Argentine photographer Ignacio Coló was in his car accompanying his wife to the subway station in his Buenos Aires neighborhood when he saw two twin brothers in their 40s, dressed alike, walking past him, and holding hands.
“It was a very powerful image,” recalled the photographer in a recent interview with RTVE, Spanish public radio.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have his camera with him, so leaving his wife at the station, he returned to the place where he had seen them to see if he could find them.
He had no luck, but the owner of the corner newsstand confirmed that the twins were known in the neighborhood and that they passed by every morning. Coló left him his contact card and asked the newsstand owner to please let them know he wanted to photograph them. The next morning, Miguel, the more daring of the two, called him on the phone and they arranged to have a coffee and take pictures.
From that meeting was born a project that lasted six years called Eduardo & Miguel, a photo book that offers a glimpse into the daily life of these twins who have never been separated.
“The two are alone, they have no friends or close relatives, they only have some kind of contact with the Jewish community,” explained Coló in the radio interview after winning the Star Photobook Dummy Award, an initiative of the Photographic Social Vision Foundation, a nonprofit committed to disseminating and promoting the social value of documentary photography and photojournalism, in collaboration with the publishers Phree, Ediciones Posibles and RM.
Coló explained that the twins’ only brother died when he was only 12-years-old, which was a hard existential blow for the whole family. Later, their father died and their mother passed away in 2010. Their aunts, uncles and cousins are also no longer alive.
“They mainly have each other,” Coló stressed. “That’s the heart of this story: brotherly love.”
The award is given to a single person or group winner among a number of nominees, and consists of an award of 10,000€ ($10,700), or the printing and publication of a photo book mock-up that includes three consulting sessions, and the national and international distribution of the
winning book. It also gets sent to 50 international contacts in the photography and publishing sector.
“The book was intended for me not to be traditional, but to convey the idea of a double mirror, of two faces, two brothers who meet somewhere,”
Coló said, explained the book’s reversible layout.
They mainly have each other. That’s the heart of this story: brotherly love.
On one side is Miguel, and the other is Eduardo, uniting in the center. However, the reality is that Miguel and Eduardo do everything together — live together, work in the same place, walk together, eat together, and worship together.
“Theirs is a life in plural,” as the psychoanalyst Susana Kuras Mauer points out in a brief essay included in the book that says the twins’ alliance has saved their lives. “Vulnerable to a certain maturational fragility and a state of family orphanhood, they sealed between them a pact of unconditional fidelity.”
The jury of the first edition of the Star Award highlighted Coló’s approach to the subject, “in a simple and close way, showing a high degree of complicity with its protagonists. Without ignoring the hardest and saddest aspects of this human relationship, in whose story the sensations of isolation and loneliness are recurrent. In spite of this, the author manages to transmit an optimistic attitude, providing an intimate and tender look that gives value to the small daily gestures.”