Chaos and Order

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The Art of Seeing
the Simple in the Complex

Photography by Andy Ilachinski

Andy Ilachinski has been a serious amateur photographer for over 30 years. Andy uses photography to enhance our understanding of what lies between the world that science objectively describes and another, inner world--that is both a part of, yet separate from the one we objectively know--that can only be experienced by forging a deep personal connection to nature. In Andy’s words, he strives to “…record the subtle, interconnected web of energy that makes up what we call the world. Beauty, which permeates everything around us, appears in its most sublime state when form, color, pattern and texture are all in harmony. In the same way as all objects in this world are fundamentally impermanent, and essentially arbitrary, partitions of an otherwise continuous, unfragmented whole, I view photography as an almost mystical process whereby this illusion of fragmentation is momentarily lifted and the underlying essence of the universe revealed. To see the whole, one must first learn see parts as real illusions.” Andy is trained as a theoretical physicist, and is currently developing novel multiagent-based models of complex adaptive systems.

To see more of his work, please visit his The Art of Seeing Tao website,
Andy may also be contacted at


This image represents a wonderful confluence of several intertwined metaphors of life and chaos. First, in the background we see many small eddies and currents defining the turbulent flowlines of the water, without which, of course, there would be no life on our planet. Second, we see in the upper left hand corner, what looks like a portion of (naturally formed) bifurcation diagram that is frequently used to illustrate how systems approach chaos as the value of a critical parameter is systematically changed. Third, in the foreground, we see a beautifully delicate silhouette of a stem with leaves that, as a geometric form, is frequently used (in the mathematical study of L-systems, for example) to illustrate how complicated appearing natural structures can be reproduced by iteratively applying very simple rules of formation. There is quite a bit of science going underneath this humble little image!

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All images © 2002 Andy Ilachinski. All rights reserved.

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