If you’ve ever worn a sweater that blended in with your bus seat, your first reaction was probably embarrassment. When your “chic” sweater matches the innards of a greyhound bus, it can be a bit of a blow to the ego.
You may have a phobia of blending in, and this isn’t uncommon. You want others to see you as the unique individual that you are. When you match the beige walls of your office or the linoleum tiles in your bathroom, your self-perception can feel a little bleak.
But in his series, “Knitted Camouflage”, photographer Joseph Ford puts a creative twist on blending in with your surroundings.
Using the colors and patterns of the city to inspire his designs, Ford embraces blending in by featuring his models in clothes that are designed to look like their environment. From tiled floors to bushes, running tracks to street art, each image finds a unique way to integrate the subject with their backdrop.
Ford’s photographs defy the notion that blending in is boring or dull. He captures the personality of each setting and brings it out in his models.
It’s a pretty arduous project. Ford’s colleague, Nina Dodd, spends forty hours knitting clothing for each project. When the clothes are complete, Ford typically spends at least half a day with each shoot, making sure that the fabric is aligned perfectly with the background to achieve a chamaleon-like effect.
Ford’s project is whimsical and colorfully appetizing. With bright colors and exciting patterns in each photo, the viewer’s attention is drawn equally to both the subject and their background.
His series shows us that photography can be met with a childlike wonder and an interest in typically mundane things. While many people might find blending in to be a nuisance or even slightly embarrassing, Ford looks at the phenomenon with fascination.
After being exposed to this series, this writer is a little more keen to looking around the city and finding interesting, colorful patterns. If I could take inspiration from the city and bring it into aspects of my daily life- like what I wear – I would be a happy camper.
Below, you can watch the time-lapse of Ford’s “Monsieur Chat” image. You can see how much goes into the process when Ford creates each of these images.
Photos courtesy of Joseph Ford