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Arts Writing

Confuse the eye

There’s a fantastic piece about the history of camouflage in Topic Magazine this week.

Before camouflage hit the runway, French artists (camoufleurs) in World War I used creative techniques to disguise soldiers and protect them from aerial reconnaissance and long-range enemy fire.

To learn how to blend in, the French military turned to an unexpected group—the people who knew best how colors and textures could be used to trick the eye, a resource France had in abundance: artists. Known as camoufleurs, these artists became part of a special military unit that provided camouflage services to the Allied armies during World War I. The camoufleurs would join soldiers in the trenches, painting camouflage patterns directly on weapons, or painting canvas covers with disruptive patterns: brown, black, and green splotches or bold stripes, to make it difficult to see where the weapons’ edges started and stopped. Sometimes devotion to this artistry was dangerous, and in one instance, an artist was shot in the hand when he left a trench to put the final touch on a camouflage pattern.

The camoufleurs also provided the army with color charts that showed different tones of the terrain, depending on the area and season. One such color chart, featured in Tim Newark’s 2007 book Camouflage, looks like an impressionist painting, with golden hues that resemble the sun hitting leaves in the fall, or white and brown tones, like peeking through the leaves of a tree.

Categories
Books Politics & Society Quotes

“The camera is just as capable of lying as the typewriter.”

“The camera is just as capable of lying as the typewriter.”

Bertolt Brecht, War Primer (1955)
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Uncategorized

Photo of the year?
Photo of the year?

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Uncategorized

Viewpoint: Could one man have shortened the Vietnam War?

Malcolm Gladwell digs up a Vietnam War story to highlight the importance of listening in removing detrimental bias:

Listening is hard because the more you listen, the more unsettling the world becomes. It’s a lot easier just to place your hands over your ears and not listen at all.

Listen up. Face the music. Ignore bias for reality. Go with your gut and speak up when others are myopic.

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History

A brief history of camouflage for war

A brief history of camouflage for war. 

Led by the opinions of Winston Churchill who believed deception to be a powerful diversionary, and psychological tactic, the British army wholly adopted camo, followed by the United States, Russia, Italy, Germany, and Portugal. 

A brief history of camouflage for fashion. 

Many of the patterns used by streetwear brands for fashion purposes today are subtly tweaked (or outright copied) variations of the Woodland camo. 

Wearing camo in public is for visibility, not deception. 

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Uncategorized

The story of the Second World War II poster. 

Still iconic.