Exercise: Rhythm and pattern (TAoP)

Take at least two photographs, one conveying rhythm and the other pattern.

The aim of this exercise is to show the difference between rhythm and pattern in a photograph, and the different messages each convey to the viewer. The course notes mention that whilst both deal with a large number of design elements grouped together forming a type of repetition, rhythm contains movement whilst pattern is static.

Initially i was a little puzzled by the immediate difference of the two. I was seeing examples of both in the same subjects. For example, i saw some street art that had both rhythm AND pattern – I wasn’t quite sure how this was possible based on rhythm being said to contain movement while pattern is static.
That being said, i looked for some definitions to hopefully clarify this for me.

Rhythm
James Marko defines this as:-

Rhythm is the repetition or alternation of elements, often with defined intervals between them. Rhythm can create a sense of movement, and can establish pattern and texture. There are many different kinds of rhythm, often defined by the feeling something evokes when viewed.

Regular: A regular rhythm occurs when the intervals between the elements,
and often the elements themselves, are similar in size or length

Flowing: A flowing rhythm gives a sense of movement, and is often more organic in nature

Progressive: A progressive rhythm shows a sequence of forms through a progression of steps

Pattern
‘focus on travel photography’ website defines pattern as:-

Patterns, both natural and man-made, bring a sense of visual rhythm and harmony to photographs that, like a series of repeating notes in a melody, capture the imagination. Patterns appear whenever strong graphic elements—lines, colors, shapes, or forms—repeat themselves.

With these definitions in mind I feel that while both are indeed very similar, rhythm moves your eye through the picture, while pattern implies a continuation that is not present in the picture.

Rhythm:-

DSC_0056

 

Based on the definition of rhythm by James Marko, I think this is good representation. It includes both regular rhythm ‘A regular rhythm occurs when the intervals between the elements, and often the elements themselves, are similar in size or length’ and progressive rhythm ‘A progressive rhythm shows a sequence of forms through a progression of steps’.

The spacing/intervals between each bar is equal (regular) and the bars equally decrease in size forming a sequence and the appearance of steps (progressive)

Pattern:-

 

‘Patterns appear whenever strong graphic elements—lines, colours, shapes, or forms—repeat themselves.’ With this definition in mind I saw this great example. It contains all of the above. I was also aware that the OCA handbook mentions that pattern should fill the whole frame and imply a continuation beyond the frame.

This exercise was very helpful in differentiating the differences between rhythm and pattern, however i still find many examples of both!!

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