‘Knitted Camouflage’ is the name of the project by JOSEPH FORD, with which he won Gold in the category ART at the GoSeeAWARDS and thrilled the jurors. For the project, he photographs models who seemingly disappear in their surroundings. He is aided in this by specially knitted sweaters created by knitting expert Nina Dodd, which imitate the look of the background. The winning project just appeared as an illustrated book entitled ‘Invisible Jumpers’ at Hoxton Press, and selected images from ‘Knitted Camouflage’ can now be purchased in his GoSeeSHOP.
“I love optical illusions, whether it be with changing scales or with blending objects together. With this series, I have worked on matching people to their landscapes through custom-made knitwear. Each of these pictures has taken me weeks to research and plan, and I’ve given the knitter, Nina Dodd, a precise brief on exactly how the design should match the background. She has spent weeks knitting for each one. I have generally begun with an idea: ‘Could I photograph someone blending into cherry blossom?’. Then I go looking for the perfect location. The locations have to be eye-catching but simple enough to be able to be knitted. They also have to be places that aren’t going to change too fast as the knitting takes a few weeks. It would have been terrible to prepare a sweater and then not be able to shoot because the location has been demolished. Once I’ve found the location, I photograph someone standing where I would like the model to be in the final picture. I draw over this scouting photograph and annotate the picture with different colors and patterns so Nina can plan how to knit. Often, there are 10 or 12 different shades of yarn in a single picture and up to 24 balls of wool at any one time for the more complicated designs. The choice of yarn has varied according to the background: the blue running track had a shiny surface so we found a fine cotton with a sheen to it.”
Joseph FORD c/o COSMOPOLA began his adult life sensibly enough by studying French and Italian at the University of Cambridge and the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, then horrified his parents by moving to Paris to be a photographer. His personal work has won him numerous awards and has inspired films and campaigns for LVMH, Missoni, Lacoste and many others. He is regularly featured on Colossal, Fubiz, PDN, Design Boom and other art/design blogs.
His work concentrates on optical illusions. With his Aerial Fashion series, he blended landscapes shot from helicopters with still life close-ups of clothes. His Knitted Camouflage series uses custom hand-knitted sweaters to make people disappear into their environments. His work is in various private collections and in the permanent collection of the Hamburg Art and Design Museum and the Musée d’Art Urbain & Street Art in France, and has been exhibited as part of numerous festivals, including the Zürich Aufsehen festival and the Andorra Land Art Biennale. Joseph is based in the UK.
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