Inside this issue
The Fractal Factor
Why we like to photograph natural forms and patterns
Gilly lives and works in Newark, Nottinghamshire. She writes about and teaches photography and is particularly interested in the intersections between photography and other subjects, especially psychology, philosophy and art. Her own photography is mostly centred around abstract nature and landscape, and she is at her happiest when spending time in wild spaces.
If asked to list the reasons why we love landscape photography, there are many possible answers – beauty, fresh air, an excuse to visit wonderful places, and so on. But there’s one reason you may not have thought of – indeed, may not even know about – and that is that we are biologically drawn towards fractal patterns in nature.
A fractal is a complex pattern that repeats itself indefinitely over different scales – one example would be the branches on a tree, where the basic branching pattern is repeated on a smaller and smaller scale towards the top of the tree. The repetition isn’t necessarily exact. Fractals can be created in two ways: the first is mathematically generated and the repeating pattern is identical, albeit on different scales. But what concerns us here are the latter - the natural fractals found in the landscape which tend to be more random and differ in detail while still holding this mathematical relationship.