Photographing Patterns and Symmetry

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There are many photographic projects that can be pursued with good results, some will take more effort than others but in general they should be sources of entertainment and learning for the photographer.

Symmetry is a term used to describe something which is well formed, pleasing, organized or in order. On the other hand, Chaos is totally the contrary. This term is often used to describe something out of place, disorganized, not pleasing and not in order but worst.

There is almost never a situation where the two terms will come together, at least not on purpose, yet there is photography, where the two terms can not only come together but end up complementing each other.

Chaos: "any confused, disorderly mass: a chaos of meaningless phrases. a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order. " Dictionary.reference.com

Symmetry: "the proper or due proportion of the parts of a body or whole to one another with regard to size and form; excellence of proportion. beauty based on or characterized by such excellence of proportion." Dictionary.reference.com

This theme should be pursued with the intend of capturing images that are totally chaotic such as a large congestion of cars, a disorganized scene at a party or gathering, a large spill, scenes at a sports game when everyone is going after the ball, some birthday parties, even weather patterns.

Scenes of symmetry will be made of subjects that are clearly very organized, in order, very well proportioned, clean, functional and so on. These two interesting photo topics go together in a photography project since they should be displayed side by side. They can be displayed independently, especially breathtaking images, but the effect is more effective if seen and compared together by an audience.

Chaos photos can include a jumble of telephone or electric wires, these are often found on other countries where an explosion of people has created an environment of overpopulation. Large crowds at busy thorough fares, large herds of animals such as the annual wildebeest migration of the African plains, a car accident scene, a scene after a natural disasters, a big mound of ants after their nest has been disturbed.

There is no shortage of subjects for chaos since at one time or another most living things will be part of it or at least help create it.

Symmetry photos should even be easier to record since many architectural projects are full of samples such as equal columns which form part of an arch, a nicely trimmed sports field, a formation of soldiers, the pattern of a butterfly's wings, a well made staircase or paved road, the delicate patterns on a flower or leaf. The beautifully colored patterned feathers of a peacock.

Again, there is no shortage of suitable subjects. Yet the availability of subjects creates a dilemma for a photographer who depends on photography for a living or has the hopes of breaking into the very competitive world pf professional photography since there is hardly a subject left that has not been thoroughly photographed in the past.

One must infuse each shot with a distinctive artistic touch which is part of your own interdependent style. Only then, in the majority of circumstances, will your work captivate an audience's glaze and be remembered by them and the decision makers.

Besides normal shots, macros lend themselves very well ,especially for symmetrical patterns found in nature. Sometimes even the most innocent of subjects if examined more closely, will yield many patterns worthy of being recorded on film or digitally.


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One of the major tasks that should be accomplished by any photographer, whether a professional or a hopeful is to at one time or another experience and deal with a large number of topics.

Although the technical aspects of photography will most likely always remain the same as well as the rules, there are often elements that change from subject to subject.

Learning to conquer most subjects and adapt to any situation not only leads one to a gain in experience and a photographic maturity of sorts, but prepares one for any unforeseen eventuality and often volatile circumstances and a mastery of the ever changing scenes that often present themselves when carrying on a photographic project.

Once one has mastered the many facets associated with photography then one can become a specialist in one subject or another.

What does not change is the expectation by your clients that every image is technically superior and aesthetically pleasing; it achieves the purpose for which the image was recorded in the first place.

Many more photography articles and project ideas!

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© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez

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Comments 4 comments

Alladream74 profile image

Alladream74 5 years ago from Oakland, California

A well written hub.Thank you


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Alladream74: Thank you for your nice comment


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I must admit that while symmetrical chaos is facinating, pictures of chaos by itself -never mind the chaos being in front of me in person-makes me feel tense. Understandable if you are in the middle of chaos, but an odd phenomenon that looking at a picture can create the same reaction.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

FLoraBreenRobinson:You are correct. Images can sometimes elicit the same responses as if one was in the presence of chaos.

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