Symmetry & Architecture


Symmetry can be a fun source of subject matter for architectural photography.  Arches, domes, columns, and so on can all be intriguing.  If nothing else, it’s one of the reasons why places like the Parthenon, Pyramids, Notre Dame, the US Capitol, etc. make for such great photographic opportunities.

By way of another example, from the inside of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

Palace of Fine Arts, SF
Palace of Fine Arts, SF

Patterns and repetition have a great impact on the human sensory experience.  You’ll see it in printwork  and painting (see almost anything from M.C. Escher), nature (birds’ wings, snowflakes), and music for example (Bach, anyone?).  That same idea of pattern can be adapted to photography, even beyond just the architecture I’m delving into here.

But it needn’t always be 100% perfect either.  Slight variations can be interesting as well!  This one’s a little off center …

Rotunda (again)
Rotunda (again)

But I’m still fond of it despite its lack of perfect balance.  In fact, I think it adds a little dynamism, a little life, to what could otherwise have been too sterile.

Or in another case where the symmetry isn’t precisely bilateral (i.e. not straight down the center of the photo) see here.

Vista House, Columbia Gorge OR
Vista House, Columbia Gorge OR

You can play with this, and walk around outside and inside whatever your subject is.  Or even use people and crowds to create a symmetrical effect – think sidewalk crowds in New York City as seen from the center line of the street.

So get out there, and have some fun!

No post next week – I will be out shooting.  But it should yield some great results you’ll see soon!

See more of my work at


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