Seeing the World Through a Lens of Multiples and Patterns

06 February 2013


Multiples, Nikon DSLR, January 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

1. A Trio of Windows, Nikon DSLR, January 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Walkway, iPhone 4s , January 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Walkway, iPhone 4s , January 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

Let me know what you think about these simple yet multiple-patterned images. Which do you prefer and why.


One of the areas of our visual landscape that we encounter daily are multiple images. Some are evident and others need a bit more attention to acknowledge their presence.

In the Lens section are examples. The first has an immediate lure of three windows side-by-side. As the image pulls you into its details, various patterned reflections are spied. For me the view was calming and quieting. In the second the walkway’s bricked-patterned columns lead you into a mysterious beyond, the unknown and the mystical. Each of these images can easily be unnoticed or be seen for their individualities and repetitive visuals.

The solitude of these scenes seemed as important as the allure of the architectural features that create aesthetic appeal with usual materials and structures. To isolate them is to perceive them differently. But it also helps us see the patterns.

During these photo field trips I began to think about the master artist, M.C. Escher (1898-1872), who was a Dutch graphic artist, book illustrator, designer, and printmaker. Escher intuitively understood relationships that are in the purview of mathematicians. His work awed viewers.

Escher’s artwork details intricately arranged patterns called tessellations, where spatial connections and the notion of infinity were cleverly created. His prints are a tour de force of images that fool the eye and titillate the viewer’s idea of art. Architecture and nature were his some of his tools to express perspective. His work transforms our own vision of the universe, and forces us to think about recurring themes that exist all around us.

Circle Limit with Butterflies, M.C. Escher, 1950, Google Images

Circle Limit with Butterflies, M.C. Escher, 1950, Google Images

"Sky and Water," M.C. Escher, 1938, Google Images

“Sky and Water,” M.C. Escher, 1938, Google Images

Humans mimic nature in architecture, art, and other endeavors. Science both explains and questions how patterns are embedded in the natural world and human nature such as fingerprints, fractals, ice crystals, spiral seashells… We integrate nature into our own tiny universe. These interconnections become part of our human story.

Visual symmetry teaches about our humanity, and helps us comprehend human and non-human momentum. Patterns are a collaborative part of what inspires our creativity and inventiveness, even if we do copy the ingenuity Mother Nature’s schemes.

Note: I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. This week two other photographers and I began an iPhoneography Challenge. To learn about it, click here.

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Seeing the World Through a Lens of Multiples and Patterns

  1. tweetyb8o8 says:

    The walkway looks so great!

  2. Gallivanta says:

    Thanks for reminding me about Escher and tessellations. I think I prefer the first image because at first glance you think the windows are paintings, but not quite, so the eye needs to go back for a deeper look. It’s intriguing.

  3. Patterns, textures, shades of colors, all these adds up to one unforgettable pictures. beautiful shots!

  4. I love the first image – it asks many questions of the viewer. The framed pics could be photos or views straight through little windows. Great shot!

  5. Jo says:

    I love the second image, this is the kind of thing I could look at all day. I too love Escher’s work. I have a photograph of sanderlings in flight over the sea (I think it may be in my blog on one of the 365 challenge) that I sat and waited for them to take off for THE longest time (as they were sleeping) because the black and white of the underneath of the bird against the black inky sea just made me think of his work. It is one of my favorite shots but not everybody gets it. 🙂

  6. scillagrace says:

    Fell in love with Escher’s work as a kid, basically because it was so COOL! Taught the next generation to appreciate his perspective as a VIVA volunteer. (Volunteer in Visual Arts) Patterns in art and music make us feel so competent, like we “get” something about the universe. But of course there’s still so much mystery. (P.S. Congrats on your iPhone project…I don’t have one, though. It was enough for me to go from the Canon AE1 to digital!)

    • Yes, he’s quite a legacy to art history. Great to hear of your work for VIVA. Part of my past is as an arts administrator for higher education and as an executive director of an arts center. As an educator I appreciate the work that you’ve done. Art is the quintessential teacher. To immerse ourselves into its possibilities brings lifelong lessons and inspires creativity, which we need to encourage. Many thanks.

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