As photographers, we are often taught not to make our compositions symmetrical, but David Hay argues that symmetry can be beautiful and we should embrace it

Symmetry is beautiful. Supermodels are known for having very symmetrical faces. For the rest of us, if you divide most faces in half vertically and flip each side over, the face made with the right half is quite different to the one made with the left half.

Photographers love to photograph symmetrical mountains like Mount Fuji in Japan and Kirkufell in Iceland. Their cone-shaped perfection attracts photographers from all over the world. So, what is it about symmetry that attracts us?

When people first start taking photographs, they usually place the subject symmetrically, in the centre of the frame. In the old days this was because the focussing aid, the split-image/micro-prism or the double-image rangefinder, was in the centre of the frame. When autofocus cameras first arrived, they had only one central focus target, so it was easier to place the target on the subject and then just push the shutter release to take the photograph.

As people become more interested in photography, they usually pay greater attention to composition and find that…

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About Author

David Hay

I took up photography at the age of eleven and have been passionate about it ever since. As a retired biologist I still marvel at the beauty of the natural world and try and capture the colours and forms of natural things around me.


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