Exploring Symmetry

The latest Lens-Artists Challenge is ‘Symmetry’ and so I have been looking at it with a new eye, and finding it everywhere!

Vertical Symmetry

Here the axis runs vertically through middle, giving a right and left side that mirror each other. Thinking about it, I suspect that all living moving creatures are vertically symmetrical: animals, birds, fish, insects.

Human beings are symmetrical although I rarely take photos of them behaving in a symmetrical manner, possibly because without great lighting they end up looking like mug shots. An old man in Laos wearing a furry hatWhen someone is especially simpático with someone else they often mirror the other’s body positioning – how can you tell these two have been good friends since grade school? If you are especially simpatico with someone you are supposed to mirror their actions - how can you tell these two have been good friends since grade school? Vehicles appear to be designed for the most part in a symmetrical fashion – boats, cars, planes…  I wonder why? Are they more stable this way? Vintage car in Den Gamle By, a recreated village in Aarhus, DenmarkArchitecture comes in a variety of variations and can be symmetrical but often it is not. I had a hard time finding an example of symmetrical architecture photographed straight through the middle with one side equalling the other. A checkered walkway leads up to an arched door in Rosario, Argentina

Horizontal Symmetry.

Horizontal symmetry, with the axis running horizontally through the object, was a lot harder to find.

This big mouth clam with its spectacular green lips was the only living example, although it’s also horizontally symmetrical if looked down at from above. big mouth clamHere I finally found a symmetrically-taken photo of the marble facade of the Taj Mahal (itself vertically symmetrical), also horizontally mirrored in the reflecting pool. It was in my reject piles – perhaps perfect symmetry in a photo is a bit too static? The marble facade of the Taj Mahal mirrored in the reflecting pool (Agra, India)In the end all the horizontal symmetry I could find were reflections, where the top side was mirrored below. This seagull was perched on a floating yellow buoy reflected in the water off of Belfast’s Maritime Trail, Ireland.  Seagull perched on a floating yellow buoy reflected in the water off of Belfast's Maritime Trail, IrelandA gleaming raven struts along the beach in TofinoRaven strutting on a beach at the end of Tonquin Trail in Tofino on Vancouver Island

Radial Symmetry.

This is symmetry that radiates out around a central point.

Many plants have both lateral symmetry, in the actual leaves for the most part, and radial symmetry in the flowers and the way the leaves grow arrayed around the centre of the plant. White wildflower on the path to the Lower Joffre Lake on the Duffey Lake Road (Hwy 99) BCDanish-designed light fixture in the Design Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark. Danish-designed light fixture Design Museum in Copenhagen, DenmarkDomed Art Deco ceiling of the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Domed Art Deco ceiling in the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico CitySea urchin skeleton at Playa Blanca, Costa Rica. sea urchin at Playa Blanca, Costa RicaMore of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Symmetry.

10 responses to “Exploring Symmetry

  1. Such an interesting post on symmetry / the two friends and the man with blue trousers were favs today – for the symmetrical take but also for mood and humanness

    • A lot of head-on people shots end up looking like mug shots – the trick appears to be to find good lighting, and then a person that is interesting to look at, which in my books is mostly old people like my old Laos gentleman!

  2. I really enjoyed your post, Elizabeth. Great examples of symmetry. I liked your thoughts too on symmetry in humans and the natural world. I’m so glad you kept the photo of the Taj Mahal. It’s beautiful. So is the image of the doorway and tiled pavement.

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