Icons – ‘Making-of’s of the best-known and most impressive photos in history


The photo series ‘Icons’ is an unusual, but highly interesting side project of Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger, two professional photographers from Switzerland. The duo had the idea for the project in 2012 when a large-size print of the picture “Rhein II” by Andreas Gursky was sold for the record sum of $4.3m. Wired.com reported that the entire thing started off as a joke – the idea being to duplicate the most expensive and most well-known photos of the world.


© Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger

Below you can see the original by Andreas Gursky.

The Rhine II 1999 by Andreas Gursky born 1955

After “Rhein II” they happily continued with what they were doing and by now more than a dozen of the best-known photos of world history have been copied. Since the two Swiss want to draw attention to the danger of misinterpreting photos taken out of context – even some of the best-known, like the one of Nessie, later turned out to be fakes – none of the photos have been cropped. It is always visible how the picture was taken. I have only added some pictures below, always in pairs. The rest you can find on the website of Cortis and Sonderegger. The photo from the icons-series is always above and the respective original below. 🙂


© Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger


The footprint on the moon, aka “AS11-40-5878”. Taken by Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. in 1969.


© Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger

The Wright Brothers. Taken by John Thomas Daniels Jr. in 1903.


© Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger

Hindenburg Explosion

The Hindenburg Catastrophe. Taken by Murray Becker in 1937.


© Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger

Loch Ness Monster

“Nessie”, the Loch Ness Monster. Taken by Marmaduke Wetherell in 1934.

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