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Radial symmetry: Why 1:1 aspect ratio?

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Radial symmetry is quite common in the natural world such as animals, plants, vegetables, fruits, flowers, and so on. Though symmetry can be achieved in any aspect ratio, radial symmetry can be achieved only through a square format which is nothing but 1:1 aspect ratio.

Let us look at an example for a better understanding.

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Do you feel a brilliant balance in in the above photograph? A serene feeling? This is mainly because of the equal (approximately) amount of space around the subject which is at the centre.

Photographers would agree that there has been a significant amount of processing which is also highly appropriate to the photograph at hand.

The below image can help us understand, how the subject is at the centre of the frame.

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In nature and biology, symmetry is always approximate. For example, plant leaves while considered symmetrical, they rarely match up when folded in half. This is the same perception seen in the photograph above proving to be a brilliant example of Radial symmetry.

Note: I am unable to find who is the photographer here because of the source of the photograph is through a Telegram (a social App like WhatsApp) channel where they do not display the photographer’s name.  I have taken the privilege to analyse the photograph in terms of appreciating the work and for educational purposes. However, I am keen on knowing the photographer and to give the well-deserved credit here.


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Does this photograph convey the radial symmetry effect? Let us see below.


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The radial symmetry is not perfect, isn’t it? Similar to the previous example? Let us see further.


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Though the man seems to be sitting at the centre, it is not exactly centre. But we as humans see it as the centre and all the space around him seems to somehow drive towards him.

For instance, if we break down the steps and other lines, all the red and orange arrow marks takes us to the subject whereas the blue lines do not. That doesn’t stop us from feeling the symmetry created by the photographer by the vertical, horizontal and inclined lines.

One more thing to note here is the contrast, the subject is in black tone and the rest of the space which drives the attention is in subtle light tone. Otherwise the photograph wouldn’t be much attractive.

And, of course there are hundreds of other ways to make a photograph, interesting!

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Navanee Viswa

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