A few years ago I was on a subway in New York (museuming!) and there was a guy there who was wearing hunting camouflage from head to toe. Unfortunately, I didn’t think he was being ironic; he wasn’t going against cultural norms, in fact he appeared to be trying to stereotype “game hunter” toxic masculinity. But, the image stuck in my mind. I can’t find the picture I shot with my phone, so you’ll have to imagine a gooner standing in a subway car full of New Yorkers, dressed like a mighty white hunter.
I don’t need to say that New Yorkers don’t even condescend to ignore someone like that. They just don’t notice it. Since I moved from New York in 1968, my powers of ignoring have weakened, so the guy stuck in my mind.
The question was: what is the extremity of useless camouflage? It’s the same question, really as “what kind of trouble are you preparing for?” Why does someone feel they need to walk around with a tactical pen, stealth sunglasses, and a flashlight that can blind a grizzly bear – when, normally, nobody ever needs to do those things?
Those of you who are not Americans may not know what that is. Go ahead and google “ghillie suit.”
One of the things I love about the Stealth in the diner shot is that the model is a fairly well-known and recognizable sunglasses model; she’s extremely striking-looking, and attracts attention wherever she goes. There was something funny about obscuring her under camouflage.
I also enjoy the visual references to a Burqa.
About a second after that was taken, one of the guys turned around and jumped about 2 feet in the air. Fortunately, he did not feel he was under attack and did not respond by attacking my model with a tactical spork. She did drop the hood and favor him with a radiant smile that melted him into a puddle.
The lady who used to cut my hair was completely unflappable, when I explained the idea she said, “sit in the chair and we’ll take a bit off the top.”
By the way, proper snipers are expected to make their own ghillie suits – that’s part of the expertise and mystique. It says something about sniper cool in the US that you can get pretty good ghillie suits on Ebay for $30.
I discontinued the series when a family of mice made a nest in the ghillie suit. After that it smelled – well – it smelled like a ghillie suit is supposed to, which means I bagged it and tossed it.
We had an idea for another shot, but we weren’t geared for it. The idea was to have someone in the ghillie suit rollerblading around the park, with reaction-shot from the joggers and cyclists. Since I didn’t have rollerblades, it would have required a volunteer. Briefly, we considered approaching one of the existing rollerbladers and asking them “Would you be willing to pose in this thing?” but reason prevailed: what if we got a face-full of well-deserved pepper spray? The shot was never done.