Of all the building blocks of design, the one I struggled with most as I was learning photography was pattern. In hind sight, I feel somewhat silly…because it’s possibly the easiest building block to feature. I think where I got caught up was that I was always looking for symmetry and clearly defined repetition. That is not always the case. Jim Summerson‘s photograph, Eight, features the pattern building block. And yet there’s nothing symmetrical about his photo.
For starters, Eight evokes some pretty interesting ideas. I don’t know much about the photograph or the shooting location, but the setting seems exotic in a way. Suffice to say that such a location doesn’t exist anywhere near my hometown of Philadelphia. But I digress. My point is that the exotic nature of the shot is the hook that pulls you in. I’m pretty sure all of us can hold our own with hooks, suffice to say we’re able to identify an interesting subject. But it’s the composition that ultimately holds our interest and in this case, it’s Jim’s use of the pattern building block. In this case, the pattern is the boats. They’re all different colors, different resting positions and I’m pretty sure that one on the end is the biggest of its siblings (and clearly it gets the most to eat). Despite the differences between the boats, you can identify the family resemblance. In other words: The similarities between each of the boats, no matter how slight, ties each of them together in a manner that is identifiable as a pattern. The pattern is what holds our interest in the case of Eight.
Pattern can come in all shapes and forms. And of course the easiest to identify are the ones that are symmetrical and repetitive. The more subtle faces of pattern aren’t always as easy to identify. Sometimes it requires a shift in perspective, or the right filter. But pattern is everywhere and all you have to do is to capture it in the right way to create an interesting composition.
Jim Summerson hails from England and his landscape and travel photography captures much of the region in a great light. Jim joined Flickr in 2009, and he has shown a great deal of improvement. If’ you’d like to see more of his work or follow him through Flickr, you should wander on over to his photostream. Alternatively, you can also browse his works at his Wix site. I’m sure you will find a number of inspiring works in Jim’s portfolio.