History’s Most Famous Pictures Recreated In Miniature

The Swiss artists Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger recreate small versions of famous historical pictures, using materials bought at a DIY store.

The project, started in 2012 by Cortis and Sonderegger, is called ‘Ikonen’ (Icons). The photographers, who normally work in advertising, started making the miniatures as a joke. ‘In our free time, when there’s no money coming in, we decided to recreate the most expensive pictures in the world’, Cortis explains in an interview with Wired.



AS11-40-5878 – Edwin Aldrin (1969)



The Hindenburg Disaster – Sam Shere (1937)

The first picture they recreated was Andreas Gursky’s Rhein II. The original, taken in 1999, is the most expensive photograph ever sold. After that they decided to recreate photos of historic happenings, like the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Hindenburg disaster and, for some reason, the Loch Ness Monster.




Rhein II – Andreas Gursky (1999)


Nessie – Marmaduke Wetherell (1934)

Some of the miniatures take a couple of days to make, but bigger ones like the photo of the Tiananmen Square protest took weeks. ‘We bought seven model tanks and spent a week assembling them. To build one tank is fun, the second one is okay but the third one is not that fun’, says Cortis.



Tiananmen – Stuart Franklin (1989)


The Wright Brothers – John Thomas Daniels  (1903)

Even though it can take a lot of work, both photographers are still enjoying their project. And if you wonder why two grown men love building miniatures: Cortis and Sonderegger both have children under the age of four. Cortis: ‘Maybe that’s where our interest in building tiny things comes from!’



9/11 – Sean Adair (2001)

Check out more work on their website.