- “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” - Dorothea Lange -
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A gray cat slinks past a wooden house. There’s something a little intimidating attempting to describe
Patterns in nature are visible regularities of form found in the natural world. These patterns recur in different contexts and can sometimes be modelled mathematically. Natural patterns include symmetries, trees, spirals, meanders, waves, foams, tessellations, cracks and stripes. Early Greek philosophers studied pattern, with Plato, Pythagoras and Empedocles attempting to explain order in nature. The modern understanding of visible patterns developed gradually over time.
Living things like orchids, hummingbirds, and the peacock’s tail have abstract designs with a beauty of form, pattern and colour that artists struggle to match. The beauty that people perceive in nature has causes at different levels, notably in the mathematics that governs what patterns can physically form, and among living things in the effects of natural selection, that govern how patterns evolve.