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Hide and Seek: Camouflage, Photography, and the Media of Reconnaissance Hardcover – March 30, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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"Hanna Rose Shell's Hide and Seek stands apart from other recent writings on the significance of camouflage; at the same time, her book blends in seamlessly. While partly a book about military camouflage in relation to reconnaissance photography and film, it encompasses far, far more than that. Replete with surprising connections, it stands apart because of the author's unerring research, engaging prose, and the thoughtfulness and originality of her conclusions." -- Roy B. Behrens, author of False Colors: Art Design and Modern Camouflage, and Camoupedia; contributer to DPM: An Encyclopedia of Camouflage



"Hanna Rose Shell's Hide and Seek: Camouflage, Photography, and the Media of Reconnaissance is a highly original and imaginative piece of scholarship, written economically and compellingly. Drawing on evidence from the history of science, military history, art history, and the histories of photography and cinema, Shell gives us a developmental narrative and theoretical formulation of camouflage between the mid-nineteenth century and the present." -- Martin Jay, Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley



"Funny, poetic, and scary by turns, Hide and Seek asserts it is not human vision that camouflage seeks to trick, but the gaze of the camera. The skin of emulsions, no less than the hides of humans and beasts, is ground for trickery and revelation in this remarkable book." -- Caroline A. Jones, Professor of Art History and Director of the History, Theory, and Criticism Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology



"Vital conversations on the meaning of the gaze have dominated the past quarter century and more in visual culture studies. Now, shifting our focus from being to not being seen, Hanna Rose Shell newly formulates and explicates a history of efforts in camouflage from the military in World War I to video artists in the presents, and reveals a deep human desire to disappear. No reader will forget Hide and Seek's genealogy of the 'chameleonic impulse,' the longing both to construct and to project a worldly skin that makes one functionally invisible. Beautifully written, brilliantly argued, and vividly illustrated, Hide and Seek is a paradigm-altering book, and the anatomy of a new kind of consciousness." -- Laura Wexler, Professor of American Studies and Women's Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Director of the Photographic Memory Workshop, Yale University



There is much to enjoy in all four chapters and without doubt this book, detailing interrelationships of technological advances in photography and film and developments in camouflage media and camouflage consciousness, will live into the future as readers scrutinise it, evaluate it and take its useful and imaginative store of ideas in additional directions.

(Ann Elias History of Photography)

About the Author

Hanna Rose Shell is the Leo Marx Career Development Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at MIT.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zone Books (March 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935408224
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935408222
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,516,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Mr. Zachary Katz on April 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Hide and Seek is an entertaining and deceptively deep exploration of the history and artistic context of camouflage. Hanna Rose Shell presents camouflage as a distinct new artistic medium by tracing its history, from the etymology of the term (invented in 1916) to its military uses, to the research that was done (largely by artists and philosophers) to create it. Shell moves effortlessly and entertainingly from art to philosophy, from military strategy to Monty Python, and from video games to the muppets. Hide and Seek is a synthesis of deep research and careful insight that establishes a new way of looking at camouflage as a means of human expression, a delightful and entertaining read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is more historical in nature. It goes back to WW1, and comes forward. It covers serveral aspects that are interesting but difficult to put into practical/actually use. I'm an appretice gunsmith working on appling camo techniques on firearms, and didn't find anything I could use as a result of reading this book. I don't think anyone attempting to make camouflage netting, or clothing would find this book useful either. If you are interested in learning how camouflage came about, and the history of camouflage, then this is the book for you.
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