Can you spot the deadly threats in these nature scenes? Hidden behind trees and buried in weeds sit camouflaged snipers with their guns aimed on you. For this chilling photo series, German photographer Simon Menner puts the naive viewer in the line of fire.
Menner, whose other projects are about minefields, murder weapons, and "353 Causes of Death," likes to make his viewers squirm by pointing out often invisible dangers. For his series "Camouflage," Menner photographed trained snipers from the German Army hidden in the German Alps. Jonathan Jones of The Guardian explains how this series plays tricks on our eyes: "This is simple scientific trickery. Our brains just don't decode visual information as efficiently as we think they do. A broken pattern, or a confusion of depth and flatness caused by illusory shadows, or just a subtle blending of colours can make the visible invisible."
Through his optical maneuvers (and the help of 3D printed camouflage) Menner reveals a lapse in our ability to analyze threats. His series also calls into question the power of his medium to capture reality. While we expect photography to truthfully record what is in front of us, it can be just as misleading as a trompe l'oeil painting. Menner also conflates a photo shoot with the sniper's shot. He and the sniper become each other's targets when creating this series. Once the photos are developed, the viewer faces the sniper, whether he is aware of the danger or not.
Take a look at Menner's work below, and see if you can spot the hidden snipers:
Sniper on the right side, behind the grass and below the small trees in the foreground.