Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bewildering Stripes in Ship Camouflage

Above (top) Starboard side view and port side view (bottom) of the SS Orissa, a British Commonwealth steam ship (c1918) in striped zébrage camouflage. A third view is at the bottom of this page. The original photographs, made by Allan C. Green, are in the collection of the Victoria State Library AU.


Norman Wilkinson, "Dazzle Painting of Ships" in The Nautical Gazette (September 13, 1919), p. 177—

Some time before the end of the war we had arrived at the striped type of design [for ship camouflage] which was the most successful type. These striped designs were commented on by a great number of seamen as being by far the best for upsetting the calculation of a ship's course.


Rudolf Arnheim, Parables of Sun Light (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989)—

Nothing is more humbling than to look with a strong magnifying glass at an insect so tiny that the naked eye sees only the barest speck and to discover that nevertheless it is sculpted and articulated and striped with the same care and imagination as a zebra. Apparently it does not matter to nature whether or not a creature is within our range of vision, and the suspicion arises that even the zebra was not designed for our benefit.