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reportage: Twins

photo and text by Annalisa Mazzoli www.annalisamazzoli.com

I was born together with a male twin brother.

The etymology of the word twins comes from the Latin ‘gaminos, geminus’, meaning double, which has an unequivocal connection with the Ancient Greek word ‘gamos’ that signifies marriage, union.

Its meaning is clear: it indicates the dualism, inherent to every human manifestation, of the union of two opposite complementary polarities that merge together.

From the day you are born, during childhood, while growing up, you face the mirror with someone else, equal yet different, always as a pair, related willingly or unwillingly, especially in the first years.

So far this is the stronger bond in my life, visceral and instinctive, at times inexplicable. One Sunday morning while I was at university, I woke up with a sense of anguish that I never felt before. It was inexplicable, alive and real, a strong fear that something bad could have happened. I immediately called my brother, who at that time was studying in France, and I came to know that he was not well. When you are a twin, you do not need words to understand each other: to see or hear each is sufficient to sense at once the other’s mood.

Starting from the duality that I often experience, from the conflicts in wanting something and its opposite, I have been thinking about the relationship that has always been so alive since our conception. Comparisons are inevitable, even between a girl and a boy, even when life keeps you apart, even if the personality paths are almost opposite and yet complementary.

The duality and the awareness of the other are always with me.

The relationship with my brother has not always been simple: indeed, at times it has been difficult and confrontational because of differences, of jealousy, of the distance that somehow was established, of the defence barriers created because being detach from the another is useful when trying to find oneself and differentiate from the other.


I chose to photograph twins because of the possibility of finding a key to examine the relationship between them, to come to the understanding that the fundamental theme is the relationship between two people, it is indeed two people.

I used clothing as a symbol of the bond that unites them, waiting and photographing their reactions and emotions that arose from the experience. I approached and teased them a bit, asking questions, making visible and more extreme the bond that unites them.

It was emotional to see so clearly in front of me a relationship that I often felt but not understood, relive emotions experienced in the past and in the present. Thinking about my brother is always very emotional almost as if he was a highly sensitive point of my body. We chose different paths and developed opposite attitudes: for him, scientific and mathematical, for me literary and creative.

And now, as we grow older, maybe we’re making the two spheres closer, seeking to find a compromise between two hemispheres.


Ora, crescendo, stiamo forse avvicinando queste sfere, cercando e trovando un compromesso tra i due emisferi.


Annalisa Mazzoli



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