Watch A Photographer Trick You Into Thinking That One Image Is Actually Four

This is the cover photo for Terrain, an album by Austrian band VLP. It seems fairly unremarkable at first; four images stitched into one. But look more closely… it’s not what you think.

Shot by photographer Bela Borsodi, it’s actually an optical illusion; that’s one photograph, that uses forced perspective and color to trick you into thinking it’s four. Don’t believe us? Here’s the video showing the trickery as it comes together:

VLP “Terrain” by Bela Borsodi from Art Department on Vimeo.

This was actually done in 2011, but only recently caught attention because, well, Borsodi did his job so well that nobody realized it wasn’t just some boring, conventional photo but an amazing piece of visual trickery. If the music is any indication, the album probably didn’t sell well enough for people to notice, either.

There are subtle clues that it’s all one image: Notice that the lamp crosses three of the four “quadrants”, for example. But largely it plays on the way our brain works. If you look carefully at the edges of the “quadrants”, you’ll notice that items delineate a clear, sharp line that fools our brains into thinking it’s a border when it’s really not, and the use of four different colors also creates a “boundary” in our brains. It helps that each photo is cluttered, so we can’t see any lines continue, with a few exceptions like that lamp.

In short, it’s a neat trick we can probably expect a lot of ads to start ripping off now that it’s gone viral. But hey, for now, it’s really neat.