Knitter Nona Dodd, along with photographer Joseph Ford designs knitted camouflage for those of us who love an optical challenge, a push in perception. Perhaps what we think of when we do hear about camouflage is a chameleon or a military uniform. However, these knitted wearables are anything but. Dull neither in their making nor bearing, the wearable camouflages melt into the background so flawlessly that us, the spectators, have to take a step back to figure out the reality of what we just saw. Both parts of the project – called Invisible Jumpers – the knitting and the photography, are handled perfectly with painstaking effort on the part of the collaborators.
Ford had been working as a photographer for some years before he took on this project with Dodd. Optical illusions have always fascinated him, the mere thought of questioning his viewers’ perception excited him, and before he took on working full time with the knitter, he collaborated with her on a handful of knitted camouflage pictures over the span of four years. But when both the creators did start collaborating frequently, the internet was left mesmerized.
For the project to develop, Ford would visit places that he wanted to use as background and figure out how he could fit a model wearing knitted camouflage into it. Oftentimes, these backgrounds would have a personal relationship with the model. After photographing the backdrop with a person where he would like his model to be, he would annotate the pictures with colors and patterns so that his partner can plan the knitting.
These backgrounds have to be simple enough to make similar knitting possible, but the duo has worked on complicated pieces, like the cherry blossom camouflage, that took 24 differently hued balls of wool being used at the same time, thanks to the transitory nature of, well, nature.
At any given time, there are at least 10 to 12 shades of yarn for any blended knit.
A book with the same name as the project, Invisible Jumpers, has also been released. This collection of knitted camouflage photographs is unbelievably amusing, to say the least. Here we discover how the scene could change in a split second had the angle of photograph shifted a degree more or less, the model standing an inch from where they were.
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