Symmetry | PT.I | 35:Chronicle

black & white, colour, infrared, landscape, nature, photography, skies, structures, waterscape

It’s Personal.

Sometimes, when I am looking at new compositions and also, reviewing past images, I come across a simple idea that quite clearly formed the basis of those overall images in question. In fact, I can recall many occasions where I have actively looked for it and done my best to use it. Yet, though I have looked for symmetry so often in my compositions, I have never actually questioned myself as to why I do so.

Sticking to rules is not what I am best at – but some rules of photography can’t (rather, shouldn’t) be ignored. Clearly, composition is a highly key element in any photograph and, though none of us get it perfectly right all of the time, it has to be the mainstay of any serious photographer along with other obvious key elements. So why is symmetry such a valuable compositional tool and what does it say about us when we use it? 



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Symmetry can be used either vertically, horizontally or, more trickily, diagonally. In the main, it’s usually portrayed in 50/50 form rather than thirds (where symmetry would be a less accurate way of describing it than say, for example, repetition). Personally speaking, I love symmetry in composition for a few reasons: 

  • Composition of a strong or interesting subject can be made much more simply at the most appropriate FL.
  • It is highly probably that on viewing, the eye will be naturally drawn to this element, and therefore, the image may tend to ‘de-clutter’ itself.
  • It’s an excellent framing tool for creating isolation of a subject. 



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Personally, I have a natural propensity to like things in order and I don’t enjoy chaos – certainly not in the images I make. This is applicable though, to most areas of my life because, my life is tended by this person with this personality or, hang-ups – and this cannot change without a life-changing episode. Nevertheless, I know that areas of my personality (or, persinility, perhaps?) are the reasons why I see how I do when I look to make a photograph. In a similar way, certain personality traits may compel one to create in vibrant colour, or say, use repeatedly similar subject matter. Yes, I think it is entirely personal, way beyond the rules – but then, no art can be anything but, can it?


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