I've written before about finding interesting patterns in nature (one of my favorite pastimes), but there are also a lot of very interesting patterns in man-made objects, and in particular in architecture. In fact, most modern buildings are crafted using a series of patterns--beams, supports, rafters, etc.
You can find a lot of patterns in the exteriors of buildings (in the brickwork or tiles, for instance) but often the most interesting patterns are found on the inside, both in the construction details and in the decoration. I've found great decorative patterns in stairways, domes, doorways, carvings, etc. But sometimes the building itself is like one huge pattern--a good example is the Javits Convention Center in New York, shown here. This building is basically just a giant glass and steel skeleton and everywhere you look there are amazing patterns. I shot this picture while I was having lunch in the lobby during a photo convention; I couldn't help but be mesmerized by the complex patterns of steel beams and windows. The architects meant to dazzle the imagination when they built this structure and they were very successful!
Architectural patterns work best when they are entirely isolated. For the shot here I was lucky, there wasn't much in the way (other than some banners hanging from the lower ceilings) so all that I had to do was point the camera up and shoot. Usually though you can isolate a pattern just by zooming the lens out a bit and getting rid of clutter.
By the way, churches and temples, as well as important public buildings like state capitols are very rich with ornamental patterns, so those are other nice places to look. If you're looking for likely subjects in your area, just do a Flickr search on say, "Iowa State Capitol Interior" and you'll see what other photographers have shot there. (And I use that particular example because Iowa's Capitol building is wild with great patterns inside!)
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