The Optical Illusion Olympics: 20 Photos That Are Wildly Deceptive

A good old-fashioned optical illusion will take your brain on an emotional rollercoaster of pure confusion. The proper optical illusion will leave you guessing for more. The world itself is far trippier than we give it credit for. Sometimes, a person with a camera that snaps a shot at the right moment can capture just how weird things can get. These optical illusions can definitely make your brain feel just a bit fuzzy when it’s all said and done.

1. “What do you see first?”

A person stands inside a damaged house with a partially collapsed ceiling and scattered debris. They are holding a pile of papers and mail, wearing sunglasses, and covering their face with one hand. Sunlight filters through the damaged roof, illuminating the scene.

“The hole in the roof.” – u/sfoxreed

“A woman crying holding a box.” – u/eatapeach18

2. “It took me about 30 seconds to not see a sandwich.”

A soccer player wearing a light blue and white striped jersey holds up a shoe filled with what appears to be food. She is on a soccer field with stadium seats and spectators in the background. The player has long hair tied back and a determined expression.

“If the Nike swoosh wasn’t on there, I think it would have taken a long time to see anything besides a sandwich.” – u/RampSkater

“I saw sandwich until the Nike logo. Now I only see shoe.” – u/bagodonuts6432

3. “I give up.”

A staircase with alternating carpet-covered steps in a living space. The steps are unusually shaped, with some pairs of steps wider than others, creating an uneven pattern. Railings and part of a kitchen are visible in the background.

“I can only see the illusion for about three seconds and then I cannot unsee reality after that.” – u/No_Cash_8566

“I don’t know what I saw the first time. But I cannot unsee it now.” – u/_vard_

4. “How does she look to you?”

A woman stands against a two-tone wall with her face positioned in a way that creates an optical illusion, making it appear as if part of her face, including one eye, an eyebrow, and lips with bright pink lipstick, merges with the wall.

“Picasso masterpiece.” – u/Sci-fra

“Not good, I’ll tell you that.” – u/CatLazy2728


Abstract black and white pattern consisting of geometric shapes and lines. The design includes alternating rows with square and circular elements, each filled with closely packed vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines, creating a textured, layered effect.

6. “I can’t stop laughing at this.”

An edited image shows a person with long dark hair and an ostrich's head riding an ostrich. The left side of the image shows the full scene, while the right side provides a close-up of the person with the ostrich head. Trees and a fenced area are in the background.

“I’m scared.” – u/Marx210

“Pretty funny face she made.” – u/Life-Ad-1716

7. “The Penrose Triangle.”

A metal sculpture appears to form an impossible triangle, an optical illusion where the structure seems to bend in a way that defies the laws of geometry. The sculpture is placed on a rough, gray, concrete surface.

“My brain was all relaxed and calm, ready to get a good night’s sleep, and then the mess with your head triangle.” – u/catservant

“The first university book I read was by Roger Penrose. It blew my mind.” – u/NumberVampire

8. “Get off my lawn!”

Reflection on a glass surface shows legs that appear to be made of grass, blending with the grassy ground beyond the glass. The intersection of the reflection and actual ground creates an optical illusion. Background features blue and white vertical stripes and a shelf.

“The longer I stare at it, the more questions I have.” – u/icouldnttellya

“He is the lawn.” – u/sixfoursixtwo

9. “My student made an ice cube with paper and glue.”

A piece of white paper with a hole sits on a wooden surface, with a translucent, slightly purple liquid spilled on it. The liquid has spread into an irregular shape, soaking into the paper.

“How is this an illusion? All I see is paper covered in glue.” – u/FittedCloud9459

“I really hope that’s just glue.” – u/squirrelK1tten

10. “Rubs eyes.”

A black wheeled trash bin appears to be floating above the ground on a paved pathway next to a driveway. The bin casts a distinct shadow beneath it, creating an illusion of being airborne.

“It’s sitting on the ground but the stained area beside it looks like it could be the floating bin’s shadow.” – u/rraattbbooyy

“Going up to the great garbage can in the sky.” – u/Jimmie_Jamz

11. “This optical illusion of depth on the gate.”

Image of a residential entrance showing a wrought iron gate situated in a stone wall, alongside a white building with a red tiled roof. There are green shrubs above the wall, and two covered electrical or utility boxes visible to the left of the gate. House number 32 is visible.

“I like the alligator on the roof.” – u/cervezagram

“Looney Tunes looking gate.” – u/Gustavo_019

12. “That optical illusion.”

A tall, intricately designed iron gate is adorned with ornate patterns and a central emblem. The gate, set between two stone pillars, opens to a green lawn with sunlight filtering through the surrounding trees.

“I wonder how many people have stepped face first on that gate.” – u/donniebrascoreal

“This will be my gate if I ever build a house.” – u/quanta777

13. “Some see a lake, and some see a wall.”

A leafless tree stands alone in a grassy yard against the backdrop of a weathered white wall. The sky above is overcast, giving a muted tone to the scene. Sparse vegetation is visible in the background, with taller trees faintly outlined.

“Lake first, then wall. The smears give it that Bob Ross water/reflection look.” – u/y2khardtop1

“I saw a lake, and then a wall, and now I can’t unsee the wall.” – u/KindofWeird27

14. “What do you see?”

A closet showing an assortment of clothes hung on hangers to the left. The wall on the right has visible scratches and wear, creating a white, abstract pattern. The door has a small diamond-shaped window, and part of a shelving unit with small cubbies is visible on the right.

“I see a door in desperate need of paint.” – u/_Illuminati_

“It’s Pikachu!” – u/Jlordylordy

15. “Girl stuck in concrete illusion.”

A young girl in a pink shirt appears to be partially submerged in a cobblestone path, creating an optical illusion. She is holding a toy camera and seems focused on something ahead while surrounded by greenery.

“She’s actually standing behind a wall.” – u/DethKomedy

“Didn’t get it for a while. It’s a good one.” – u/Spwd

16. “What object do you see on the wall?”

A close-up view of a beige and light brown brick wall with rough textures. One of the bricks is sticking out slightly more than the others. The bricks have a weathered and rustic appearance, with some showing small cracks and variations in color.

“For some reason, my first thought was a turtle head.” – u/superalex25

“When you see it, you won’t stop seeing it.” – u/NubiSparse

17. “The things we mentally create are crazy.”

A close-up of a hand holding up a cross-section of a head of purple cabbage, showcasing the intricate layers and vibrant purple and white hues. The patterns in the cabbage create a striking visual resembling abstract artwork.

“Never wrong to pause and analyze cabbage.” – u/EndersGame_Reviewer

“In a purple forest.” – u/SynthRogue

18. “A 2D Building.”

The image shows a modern high-rise building with a sleek, angular design, featuring large windows reflecting the sky. In the foreground, a densely foliated tree partially obscures the building. The sky has a soft pastel hue, indicating early morning or evening.

“Map hasn’t loaded.” – u/Jonahwho665

“The 2D buildings are nice. You can stack them together like sardines.” – u/ChairOwn118

19. “No people here, move along.”

A visual illusion where five white columns are placed against a black background. The columns have unique shapes, and the negative space between them appears to form five human figures standing in a row.

“Well that caused me genuine vertigo and whiplash.” – u/ConfidentTea72536

“Took me a while too.” – u/deleted

20. “Illusory architecture in Milan.”

A building designed to look as if it has a large, partially unzipped zipper on its corner, revealing a blank white space behind it. The structure is painted reddish-brown with several windows and has a stone foundation. People are standing near the entrance.

“Not really an illusion, more like just art.” – u/TFCSpacy

Yeah, I’m going to have to agree with that comment. Seriously, just an impressive piece of artwork. Granted, it would still have that illusory effect if you were walking about and saw that in person.

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