Dazzleships is inspired by the disruptive “Dazzle” or “Razzle Dazzle” ship camouflage innovated in the First World War to confound German u-boat rangefinders.  Rather than hiding the subject, disruptive camouflage sought to prevent the viewer from making accurate judgments about a target’s distance, bearing and speed.  When concealment camouflage is effective, the observer is unaware of the camouflaged object at all.  When disruptive camouflage is effective, the observer becomes aware of his or her disorientation and uncertainty; they have been dazzled.

These photographs, made in the UK in 2014, consider the connection between the visible patterns through which our physical environments are given meaning and the invisible systems around which our social lives are organized.  Both concealment and disruptive camouflage are provocative metaphors for the tension between visibility and recognition, between misrecognition and confusion, and between invisible contours and “invisible hands”.

In my practice of street photography, I respond to my environment but also actively seek out certain themes.  I review my pictures to identify patterns that have emerged and then continue to build on the themes that present themselves.


all images © Leo Hsu