The Art of Sniper Camouflage – Can YOU Spot the Sniper In These Pictures?


Is there anything common between Apple ads and deadly snipers in a conflict? Most of us would like to think ‘no’; however Simon Menner suggests that there is a common thread connecting these two apparently different phenomena. German based photographer Simon Menner instantly became a viral sensation when his ‘camouflage’ project stirred a very unique and revealing debate amongst historians and social scientists.

Conflicts and Wars intrigue Mr Menner primarily because of their long lasting impact on the society and our behaviours. His conceptualizing of conflict dynamics with our everyday psychology is unique and intriguing on so many levels.

When Mr Menner decided to approach German Army in 2010, with his unique idea to photograph trained snipers during their act, he was not sure about the outcome. But to his surprise German Army took him with open arms and assured him every assistance possible. After a series of correspondence with the military officials explaining his project’s aims and objectives, Menner gained access to military resources to photograph his project with trained snipers. First he worked with trainee snipers on various training sites inside Germany but later he was able to get in touch with some skilled snipers who have worked in Afghanistan for extended periods since 2001. Menner then took a number of photographs of these war hardened snipers on a variety of different locations while they merge into the nature.

So what are we talking about here? Sniper ‘science’ and social psychology are not actually very far off if we look deep into them. Our consumer industry is entirely based upon manipulation operated under the age old tactic of hiding in the plain sight. And after Snowden and NSA scandal it’s not a secret anymore that government agencies spy on people and organizations by camouflaging as ‘normal’ and apparently friendly agents.

Menner’s brilliantly shot photographs present an open challenge to the observer to spot the barrel pointing at them, and find the lurking killer. Despite the fact that the sniper in the photographs is not hiding as far back as in a real battlefield situation, however he is not easy to spot.

This challenging situation gave rise to a controversy when a number of people started a smearing campaign against Mr Menner calling his photographs mere fabrications and fakes. Menner has responded to the allegations by encouraging those who doubt his project, to directly contact German Army for the authenticity of the photographs, WIRED reports.

A truly mind-bending insight into the science of ‘camouflage’ and its implications to our society, Menner’s project offers a very unique perspective on the conflicts and society’s response towards it. Simon Menner is planning to take his project to the next level by shooting Israeli snipers in the desert, while in the midst of the longest conflict of the recent times.

However Menner is facing a barrage of obstacles contacting Israeli Defence officials, but he is determined that he could extend his project to the Middle East in the near future.

See more images on WIRED!

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE