“Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.”
~ Alfred North Whitehead (1861 -1947), English mathematician and philosopher
Science tells us that our human brains are programmed to look for visual patterns in order to make sense of our world. Even as newborn babies, we respond to tonal contrasts (which help us locate edges and thus identify objects) and the eyes-nose-mouth pattern of human faces (which aids in our socialization).
Patterns continue to attract and intrigue us throughout life … We respond to repetition of colors, shapes, textures, and objects in a positive way. A photo which includes a repetition of these and/or other elements, often called a “pattern shot”, is pleasing to our eyes and minds.
The button image above includes a variety of colors and textures, with the pattern created by repetition of circular shapes. It’s important for every part of a pattern shot to be sharp, so for this close-up shot, the camera was positioned with the sensor plane parallel to the field of buttons, and the aperture was set at f/25. A tripod was used, to ensure no camera movement that could compromise sharpness. The pattern is emphasized by the fact that it fills the frame, creating the illusion that it goes on indefinitely (or even infinitely) beyond the frame.
In the building image below, the pattern is created by the parallel and intersecting lines, and the resulting rectangles. The white boarded-up windows and a few reflections create interest by breaking up the pattern of black windows. This image was shot from a distance looking up at the building, so perspective correction was required (in Photoshop).
I hope you've enjoyed these two examples of pattern shots. Many fine pattern images can be found on the internet (google pattern + photography) and are quite inspiring to browse. I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to leave a comment, and as always, I wish you happy shooting and a satisfying photographic journey!
"Art is the triumph over chaos."
~ John Cheever 1941 - 1982), American novelist and short story writer