Beams of wood painted in bright colours
Lens-Artists,  Photographic techniques,  Themed galleries

Gallery: perfect patterns around the world

Humans are pattern-seeking story-telling animals, and we are quite adept at telling stories about patterns, whether they exist or not

Michael Shermer, American science writer

It could be argued that every photograph is a pattern. A flat two-dimensional representation of a scene broken down into shapes, and each shape into pixels. The technology in our cameras stitches the pixels together to reproduce the scene, while we as photographers choose and compose that scene.

It may be a landscape, a building, an animal, a street scene, a portrait. Look closely and you will find the shapes, the building blocks of the image. But for Ann-Christine’s Lens Artists theme this week I went in search of more obvious, if not completely perfect, patterns. I found them, as so often, in my travel archives. And of course, a few from our recent trip to Nepal have also found their way in!

Patterns in architecture

Art is pattern informed by sensibility

Herbert Read, art historian
Round wooden beams painted with wiggly lines and flower patterns

The roof of the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City, Beijing

My feature photo is of the roof of the Ryongwang Pavilion in Pyongyang, North Korea, showing some similarity in the use of patterns

Pale green iron scrolls

Detail of iron work at the Chinese All-Community Assembly Hall in Hoi An, Vietnam

The dome of the Grand Mosque in Salalah, Oman, seen from one of the inner courtyards

Cream dome with geometrical patterns

White marble with black criss-cross beams

The Jantar Mantar Observatory in Jaipur, built in the 18th century to observe the heavens and measure its movements

Growing in patterns

To understand is to perceive patterns

Isaiah Berlin
Terraced hillside with distant forested hills

Rice terraces in the foothills of the Himalayas near Pokhara, Nepal

Low green bushes with spaces between them

Tea plantation in Munnar, Kerala, its sinuous shapes picked out in low sunlight

Looking down at Aram Bagh, Amber Fort, Jaipur

The garden is laid out in the traditional Mughal charbagh style, divided into symmetrical quarters

Formal garden seen from above with star-shaped pool

Arranging patterns

Great leaders know that under the turmoil of chaos and change, there is a beauty of patterns and designs

Amit Ray
White and pink flowers arranged in concentric circles

Flowers floating in a bowl in the entrance of the Anise Hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Straw hats in various colours hanging in lines

Sun hats for sale in Fort Kochi, Kerala ~ arranged in a pattern and with patterns in their straw

Small colourful baskets in a jumbled pile

Small patterned baskets piled high for sale in the Place des Epices, Marrakesh

Striped baskets filled with dried chillies and other spices

Spices for sale in the souks of Marrakesh

Creating patterns

No pattern should be without some sort of meaning

William Morris
Close-up of half-finished geometrical painting with a hand holding a brush

Artist painting a mandala in a shop near the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu

Hand holding large dark wood block on fabric with repeating pattern

Block printing in Jaipur, India ~ a series of differently patterned blocks is applied in sequence, each loaded with a different colour, to create often complex final patterns

Loom with patterned fabric and weaver's hands

Weaving at a loom in Sopchem, Laos


Do share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you! And please include your name in case WP marks you 'anonymous' - thank you