Can you spot the sniper hiding in this image?

Every book, these days, is the result of the efforts of many people. Sure the writer sits behind the keyboard and bangs away at it like a deranged pianist (at least that’s what I do), but without the assistance of many other people along the way the writing is unlikely to see the light of day, nor is it likely to be any good when it does.

I am exploring it here in several parts.

Simon Menner is a German photographer whose many different projects have caught the public imagination because of their unconventional approach. In his Perception project for example, under the subsection titled ‘Camouflage’ he uses his camera to track and photograph camouflaged snipers who are pointing their rifles straight at him.

Menner is a perceptive individual who understands that the mind works in a similar way in many different contexts. He may have chosen to photograph camouflaged snipers but his intent was to show that the brain can be fooled to not see what is directly in front of it. His thinking was that in the technological age much of what we do in this brand new landscape fails to take into account information that’s right in front of us, even when it has been placed in plain sight.

Menner’s amazing images of camouflaged snipers have appeared in magazines and newspapers across the globe. They’ve drawn attention because even after they’ve been examined pixel by pixel it has been virtually impossible to spot the hidden sniper and, even after it has been pointed out afterwards, there is a sense of disbelief and a question of whether there truly is a sniper there.

When he has talked about his project which initially used German Army snipers but which expanded to cover other nationalities too, Simon has said that people have sometimes accused him of digitally manipulating the images. He hasn’t. The pictures he’s used are unedited and raw.

Snipers are just incredibly good at hiding their presence because they have a clear understanding of how vision and perception work together. They don’t try just to fool our eyes – as a matter of fact most of the time our eyes see them just fine, they work hard to fool our brain. And there they succeed.

I was aware of Simon’s work when I reached out to talk to him about my project. The images of camouflaged snipers who appear in The Sniper Mind, with his full consent, show just how good are snipers at playing these mental games that render them invisible to our mind.

In exploring Simon’s work and reading The Sniper Mind consider just how conditioned we become by our every day life to see things in a particular way without questioning them. It’s conditioning that can set us up when things change around us and we fail to see them. The principle is the same whether we are talking about business or life. It takes conscious effort and a structured way of looking at the world to truly see the pieces that make up its puzzle.

Drawn from material from: The Sniper Mind: Eliminate Fear, Deal with Uncertainty, and Make Better Decisions 

Sign up for your weekly dose of mental oomph.