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Hey! You Look Just Like . . . Introducing Doppelganger Diptychs

by Karen Tortora-Lee on January 14, 2011

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Cindy Murphy

Cindy Murphy is her name - Doppelganger Diptychs are her game

Back in the ’90s when Ricki Lake had her talk show and was pretty much at the height of her career (if she only knew it then!) it was kinda unavoidable for me to be compared to her – especially since she was still riding the coattails of her Hairspray fame (You should see me do the Madison).  Yup, during the mid-90s, working in mid-town Manhattan, hardly a day went by without someone randomly calling out “Hey, Ricki!” to me as I went about my day.  Sure, the pleasingly plump curves had a little something to do with it, but there was more to it – I was friendly, bubbly – and just like Ricki I also looked good holding a microphone and nodding in a concerned fashion when asking questions such as “Now, what exactly is ‘the down-low’?”. Of course, it’s not like anyone actually thought I was Ricki Lake – they were just acknowledging the similarity.  If there’s one thing people enjoy doing, it’s pointing out similarities.

Here’s where Cindy Murphy comes in.  Cindy not only enjoys finding similarities between two people, but she’s got a great eye for it, and lately has been doing more and more of what she’s coined Doppelganger Diptychs.  What started as something Cindy did to relax or switch gears during a stressful day became a bit of a phenomenon among her friends as more and more of them started asking her to find their  very own doppelganger.

With such talent it’s only fair that Cindy get an even wider audience to enjoy her work, so The Happiest Medium will now be featuring Doppelganger Diptychs on a regular basis.  Today, we sit down with Cindy to find out how it all started, where the name came from, and what she looks for to make that perfect match.


Cindy Murphy: Round Halloween time this year, I was posting pictures to Facebook of my husband and myself in costume and while on Facebook I thought I could put together an album of past Halloween pictures. So I gathered them up and posted them and then I thought, Wouldn’t it be fun to see the real character/actress/person next to our costumed one? I found a pic of Elsa Lanchester as the Bride of Frankenstein from the movie and put it opposite my own picture and thus Doppelganger Diptychs was born!

And the name!  Tell us about that delightful designation.

The name Doppelganger Diptychs came from using one of my favorite words, doppelganger, which I had learned way back in college during a Hitchcock film class.  Then a photographer friend posted something about how he liked the “diptych” I had created when doing a side-by-side portrait of my high school friends back in 1984 and now at our reunion. I can’t resist a good alliteration and therefore, Doppelganger Diptychs is the name. I can’t resist creating logos either and that’s why I have one.

So, after the Halloween Diptychs, what were some of the next Doppelgangers you went in search of?

Initially I trolled my Facebook page for pictures of my friends who’ve always reminded me of someone (usually a celebrity) with the thought of finding a good likeness. Now I get a lot of requests from people who say, “Do me!” Sometimes I have someone in mind when I go searching, but alot of time I don’t. I study my friend’s image for a while, get a notion and start looking. I think of actors/actresses first usually, but often branch out to noted people including authors, musicians, and even works of art–I paired my friend Christa’s wedding photo with a pre-Raphaelite work that happened to be titled, “The Bride”!


Also put the Pope next to my husband!


Well the one with your husband as Pope John Paul II is almost too good to pass up!  Then what?

I scan the results from the image search and often find one or two that fit the bill. What I look for is not a perfect match but rather some element that is strong enough to create the effect of “twinning”. Sometimes it’s hair, sometimes it’s a smile. Usually a combo though of two elements. Hair and nose, smile and face shape, etc.

You’ve made this into quite an in-demand thing – why do you like doing it so much?

It’s like a “coffee break” for my brain. It’s not relaxing necessarily but it takes me away and “reboots” my brain in a good way! I am mostly very satisfied with my results and from the reaction of my friends, I have a knack for it! I try to find matches that would make the person feel good and even flattered. No one wants to see their photo next to a dud.

Absolutely true!  Well, thanks Cindy, for coming on board.  Can’t wait to see the next round!


And for those of you who are interested – yes . . . Cindy DID do a Doppelganger Diptych of me, and found I actually matched up to someone other than Ricki Lake.  But that’s for another week!

Check back – we’ve got more of Cindy’s great Doppelganger Diptychs in the coming weeks.  Who knows, maybe one of those smiling faces might be yours!

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