What Makes Sense: Symmetry Pattern and Line


Telephone Pit Stop, Forbidden City © Larry Frank


 Symmetry soothes the eye and mind. When there's obvious balance, like the above image, there's little work for the mind to interpret, and therefore it subliminally pleases the viewer with a feeling of well-being and completeness. 

When out shooting, look for symmetry. Often, believe it or not, in some cases, a full frame fish-eye lens actually enhances symmetry.

A compositional relative of symmetry is pattern.  My mantra is, "Patterns Please The Mind, Like Harmony Pleases The Ear." Patterns create a sense of visual rhythm, not unlike a beckoning tempo and beat in music.  And, truth be told, sight and sound are processed in the same part of the human brain. Now it should become clear why patterns please the mind.

Lines in a composition create a potential for thrust or movement in the mind's eye. Lines often persuade or lead the eye to certain parts in the frame, hence the term "leading line." Articulate photographers can subliminally direct the viewer's eye to an object or area within the frame.

So, when you're out shooting, give yourself an assignment...look for symmetry, pattern or line; the three visual building blocks.

Hint: a tele lens helps select and isolate pattern. Wide-angle lenses highlight lines due to their elongation of perspective. Symmetry...well anything goes, but something like a cathedral ceiling begs for a fish-eye.

Check out some examples by clicking the gallery  Symmetry. Pattern and Line. It's quite possible that all three compositional elements might be present in an image, but one should always be dominant.  With each image, ask yourself what is the element that dominate or make the image most intelligible...symmetry, pattern or line. 

Understanding this concept will open gateway to greater creative photography. 

© Larry Frank Photographics ~ a Sandvox site