pat·tern (n) | a regular and intelligible form or sequence discernible in certain actions or situations.Oxford Languages
Photographically speaking, patterns are one part repetition and one part arrangement, and I love how these two compliment each other and work together to create a mood or add visual interest in a photo. Regular patterns have a steady rhythm that can impart a sense of calm or safety, whereas irregular patterns can add interest to an image that stops us and makes us think.
It turns out that human beings have an innate ability to recognize patterns. Finding structure in the information that we are constantly taking in is a special skill that has evolved over the centuries. And it is this ability that has given us a cognitive advantage and helped in the survival of our species.
So neat, right?
Whether it’s the recurring cycle of blooms from season to season or the rhythm and routine of our day-to-day lives, patterns can tell us so much about ourselves and what is important to us. And this is the theme I was exploring in the post from June 2014.
I like to think of these ideas as the kinds of places where science and wonder meet….using our intellect to show us the magic of the world we live in. And I hope it inspires you to look for the patterns in your own life.
My neighbor’s coneflowers are blooming.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… ‘That’s great Kelly, but really? A blog post about your neighbor’s coneflowers? What’s the big deal?’
Well the big deal is that I dearly love purple coneflowers. I love their divine color. The ordered arrangement of petals. And with these especially, the way the late evening sun washes them in a magical golden light and sets them all aglow.
As I was traipsing through my neighbor’s front yard the other night with my camera, I thought to myself, ‘Well this is kind of silly…why would you take another picture of Mrs. Graham’s coneflowers? You’ve taken pictures of them for the past two years. Move on…find something different to photograph.’
But I love these coneflowers. And I look forward to them every year. Just like I do my daylilies and my shasta daisies.
I love that about gardening… this predictable cycle of bloom. From late February to late November – from daffodils to dahlias – at any given time I can pretty much expect that something will be blooming. And purple coneflowers are just one glorious phase in the succession of blooms in the course of my gardening season.
I find so much joy in the routine and rhythm of my garden. And I like a certain amount of routine in my life as well. Having an order to my days. Knowing to a certain degree what will happen from one day to the next. A pattern to my life if you will.
I don’t know if you’re into this sort of thing, but my daughter says that I am a classic Taurus.
My guess is that if you have been gardening or photographing or blogging or parenting (or whatever!) for any length of time at all, you probably recognize patterns in your own world…in your own life.
And I think there is a place in photography for documenting these routines. To celebrate or at least give a nod to the patterns that make up our ordinary days. Morning coffee, daily runs, going to the store, making dinner. These patterns tell us so much about who we are and what we love.
But you know, if all of life was this same predictable routine, day in and day out, well that would get pretty boring. Monotonous. Even for me…the Taurus of all Tauruses. Thankfully life isn’t always so predictable though. There are always happy surprises in the garden….like when your saucer magnolia just up and re-blooms for no apparent reason.
So today I’m honoring the ordinary. The routine. The patterns of my days. But also, the out of the ordinary, like having your daughter home from college. Making coffee for two in the morning.
This is the good stuff.