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#### Symmetry in photography

I realize symmetry is just one aspect of a good photograph, but sometimes it can be fun to take pictures with symmetry in mind. Who's got a good one?

Here are two of mine:

okay, so i'm a partial computer moron (only sort of stupid, but not all the way...) and i don't know how to insert a photo on one of these monsters, but i gotta tell ya, yeah, symmetry is nice sometimes, but i think i prefer to have things off-kilter more often than not. makes things fun. eh, that's just me.

lisastator – Go to your photo, hit the "All sizes" button, choose the small version, and copy and paste the HTML from the second textbox on that page into the textbox here. :)
asymmetry rules!
Yea, assymetry does rule. I think this is my SINGLE symmetrical shot...

Here are two recent favourites of mine...

Loch Ness

The Mall and Buckingham Palace

I don't have much symmetry in my photos...teehee, but I like it that way!

I suspect this is slightly off kilter, so might not qualify for symmetry.
Curiouskiwi--you've hit it with class, I'd say.

Fans of cinema genius Stanley Kubrick will recognize the power of the symmetric shot. (He began his career with photography, and never really left it.)

Here's my contribution--

This photo displays a perfectly symmetrical object, but I cheated. It's a paperweight sitting on a mirror.

Lovely symmetries.
also not exactly symmetrical, but

I realized lately that I have far too many symmetrical shots. I know all about thirds and so, but I have lots of stuff in the dead centre. I guess I'm lazy.

Ok, then I went and look at my photostream to find an example... and couldn't find a real symmetrical one. Oh well.
My best example:

Here, I tried to avoid perfect symmetry by including the patch of grass:

Not that symmetric, buuut

Symmetric, structural subject, so the image.

I think this is my most symetrical shot

Oops no, I found another

Symmetrical all the way.

Symmetrical reflections.
oops wrong size! but yeah you get the picture.
Symmetrical reflections in Iceland.

Probably my best presently..
I think that the symmetry must have a purpose, as with any other aspect of composition.

For eample, in Quas's shot above, the symmetry adds to a balanced, relaxed, and calm mood.

Doug M's shot right above uses symmetry to show to non-uniqueness of people in public spaces.

armandino's snap of the oranges on a mirror highlights the perfect beauty of nature with its symmetry.

But then we look at Arjan Geurts shot where the symmetry is broken. The car and people offset the symmetry of the architecture to infuse the photo with a sense of modern culture layered on top of history.

Some photos need symmetry. Some absolutely don't.
Great picture, Danny!

i try to find symmetry when i can, but having it a little off kilter works for me too.
The path goes right along the top!
marcodede: Wonderful shot, but the kid will be hurt! :-)
The Ghost of Symmetry Past?
Quas, I like your offering, which reminds me of a Chinese painting.
Heres my attempt:

well, almost:
Lots of repetition, pairs etc, in these posts, not a whole lot of symmetry.

imperfect symmetry doesn't count?

This is not an expert opinion, so feel free to ignore. "Imperfect" symmetry is surely the same thing as Asymmetry. Except ... we don't always have to be totally scientific about it.
So: I find Quas's misty landscape above symmetrical because the two dark masses balance each other, even though they're not identical. If she'd zoomed in and just captured the edges of those hills, then that would have been framing, not symmetry.
I don't find Glueslab's trees-and-lake (also above)symmetrical in any way. Which isn't to say that it's a bad photo - just asymmetrical.
His tower, on the other hand, achieves a certain kind of edginess by attempting to achieve symmetry and not quite succeeding. I like that.
I notice that everyone's really nice to each other in these groups, so I hope Glueslabs won't take offence at my comments, which come with the best intentions.
Jeesh. Do I go on and on, or what? My wife says so.
Speaking of trying to get symmetry and failing, I was walking back and forth for five minutes trying to find the right spot for this shot. Frank Gehry fights symmetry.
i took the asymmetrical first, then the symmetrical. i think the asymmetrical version is more dynamic, interesting. but best to take different compositions, and compare later.

as close to symmetrical as i've ever gotten:

symmetry or geometry? ;-)
zimbragos: no offense taken! i'm interested in this idea. is there such a thing as symmetry in the artistic sense...in other words, a sort of pleasing balance? maybe a loose interpretation of the word, but still...

thoughts?

ps: the two trees (with the river) is stretching it, i know. :)
Using my computer monitor as a 16.7 million color diffuse light:

Might go into more detail about the lighting setup sometime in the future...

This next one. I took something that was inherently symmetrical, and threw it askew a bit. Does that count?

I read this thread yesterday before I took a day trip to Toronto and I snapped this picture while there.

For better or worse, I realize that I have lots of photos with symmetry. Here are a few:

Glueslabs, thanks for your response, which had me searching through my art books last night. What I find is that there is practically no obvious symmetry in the work of the great artists. And when I thought harder, I could see why: symmetry is essentially static. The circle is closed and there's very little left to say except: "Isn't that pretty."
An exception was Andy Warhol, but I think he used symmetry to comment on the mass-produced nature of the modern world.
So, my resolution is: never take a symmetrical picture again, unless there's an overwhelming reason.
Have I missed something?
IMHO you missed "never say never" and "rules are meant to be broken" :-)

I love symmetry in pictures. I love when symmetry meets asymmetry ...
Almost symmetrical.

I find symmmetrical photos interesting when the subject really has something to do with that static effect, like some of the building shots in this thread: they are built to look symmetrical, thus the photographer is enhancing that quality previously designed by the architect.
In the case I am posting, except for the slight incline of the central edge, symmetry is mostly there, in geometric terms, but the difference of lighting breaks it somehow, making it a slighly more dynamic image.
Zimbragos: This is what I was referring to. Notice how these definitions talk about the idea of balance, not just perfect (mathematic? geometric?) symmetry. One of them uses da Vinci's Last Supper as an example.

Symmetry

Symmetrical Balance:
Glueslabs, thanks for those interesting references. How dumb of me to miss one of the most famous paintings of all (DaVinci), which is clearly symmetrical.
Another example is Uccelllo's Hunt in the Forest (link below) where a symmetry of perspective leads your eye towards the pursued deer.
www.wga.hu/art/u/uccello/6various/6hunt.jpg

So perhaps these are two examples of an "overwhelming reason" to use symmetry.
And notice, too, that the symmetry in these examples is quite complex - unlike, say, a domed ceiling.
This discussion has made me appreciate dougm's Moma gallery shot earlier in this thread.
oh, yes! That shot by dougm is fantastic!

Symmetry was a very common composition method in the Renassaince period, as it was the (recently discovered) use of perspective and geometrical structures under the visible figures.
Here's two:

versus
Keeping symmetry in mind, I also thought of something else that my high school photography teacher always used to say, "taking a picture out of your height range almost always makes the picture more interesting." That is to say, next time you take a picture. Don't hesitate to get on your knees of even lay down to point the camera up, or get a step ladder or tripod to aim your camera down. It always makes the picture more aesthetically pleasing.
Haven't seen many composite images in Flickr - why?
My try:

&

some for the tube fans:

'Symmetry' eh?:-)

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