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Patterns in the Landscape (preview)

Story and Photography by Chris Harris

When photographers seek to communicate through imagery we use composition to lead our viewers and hold their attention in the image space long enough to understand what we’re telling them. How do we do that? We identify the elements of composition within the landscape and utilize their strengths. For me, in landscape photography, two primary elements are pattern and balance.


Pattern comes from the repetition of line, form, tone and colour, and the interconnectedness and interplay of those repetitions. An overall sense of balance is critical to making strong and effective compositions.

©Chris Harris Bighorn sheep skull at Farwell Canyon, Cariboo Chilcotin Region, BC

©Chris Harris
Bighorn sheep skull at Farwell Canyon, Cariboo Chilcotin Region, BC

When I was asked to comment on this selection of images, my first observation was that they’re all patterns within intact landscapes; no human disturbance is visible. Nature’s interconnectedness is the dominant theme of my work, so unblemished landscapes, with their natural rhythms and narratives, are the viewscapes I seek.

My second observation was that some images are those made while flying low and slow in an ultra-light aircraft, shooting for my book Flyover. I was privileged with the chance to view the land as visual design, especially pattern and balance.

From that perspective, I’m able to convey my sense of mystery and wonderment in an interpretation that’s at once highly abstract and profoundly documentary.

To read more of Chris Harris’ article “Patterns in the Landscape”, please pick up the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of OPC today, or subscribe and never miss an issue!

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