Symmetry is an interesting concept to ponder as a photographer. Is the aesthetic of a perfectly symmetrical photograph interesting to you? I have to admit that I have no absolutely symmetrical photos in my collection. There is symmetry to be found in nature, but it’s rarely exact. It has been said that when judging “attractiveness” in people, facial symmetry features highly. But no one’s face is exactly symmetrical.
I would venture that exact symmetry is static and not very interesting. To me, it’s the juxtaposition of similar things or balanced things that are in fact different that is most interesting.
I think that Nature in balance is the highest example of beauty, and its type of symmetry is not architectural and mathematic except on a very cellular level. When you look at the big picture, that precision is subdued. When humans step in, they tend to force that uniformity in a way that often destroys Nature’s beauty. (If I had a photographic example of agricultural monocultures and row housing, I’d insert it here.)
Tomorrow is International Daughters’ Day. My three daughters are an example of symmetry in harmony, concordance and coordination. They undoubtedly share some exact cellular similarities, and in a macro view, you can spot both the resemblance and the difference in them. And they really get along well together.
Enough structure and balance that is absolutely similar with a generous diversity that keeps the thing dynamic, not static – I think that’s a great model. For lots of things.
Thanks to Patti for hosting this week’s challenge. Visit her post to see some beautiful architectural examples of symmetry. And happy International Daughters’ Day tomorrow!
“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly.” ― Langston Hughes
Back in 2012, I participated in a WordPress Photo Challenge that asked what inspires me to blog. Here is my response. I am still inspired by all these things: caring for family (now it’s my mother who is in hospice with lung cancer), Nature (it still demands my maturity every day, especially with climate change dangers tangibly around me), grieving my husband’s death and caring for our children (which prompted me to move to Oregon to be near them), compassion for Life and our common suffering (spiritual lessons of positive and negative space inspire me every day), and education (there is always so much to learn).
Today, in response to Tina’s challenge for the Lens-Artists this week, I revisit these inspirations.
“The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.”
― Kalu Ndukwe Kalu
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ― Maya Angelou
“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Compassion for Life
“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”
― Vincent Van Gogh
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” ― Socrates
This week we will explore negative space in photography. Negative space is the area around the main subject of your photograph. This space is empty or unoccupied. Spencer Cox atPhotography Lifeexplains, ”Photos with high amounts of negative space are: empty, subdued, peaceful, calm, and isolated”.
If you’re familiar with this blog, you can imagine that I had all sorts of philosophical associations with the words “negative space”. Here I am in California, giving hospice care to my mother with lung cancer while the West Coast is on fire. Two of my children and their spouses live in Oregon, where I moved at the beginning of August, leaving Wisconsin. If you read the news, you know there is a lot of scary stuff going on in all of these places, a lot of “negative” energy.
However, now I know that “negative space” can just be the background that allows you to focus on a particular subject. Re-framing the shot, allowing the busy-ness surrounding the essential element to blur, highlights its unique and important features.
Empty, subdued, peaceful, calm and isolated.
So, maybe all of the disasters of 2020 are just the “negative space” that will allow us as humans to focus on what it supremely important about life on this planet. And what do you think that is?
“People all over the world honor their workers in a variety of ways. In the U.S., we honor those who labor by setting aside the first Monday of September as Labor Day. But world-wide, people pour themselves into their work — paid or unpaid — with commitment, ingenuity, and a sincere desire to make a difference. For them, work has become more than just work. It has become a LABOR OF LOVE.” — Rusha Sams, Oh the Places We See
This week’s Lens-Artists photo theme is timely and beautifully illustrated and described by the guest host, Rusha Sams.
Along with my two sisters, I am committing myself for the weekend and for the indefinite future to the care of my mother, who is now in hospice at home with lung cancer. I just arrived in town yesterday and am adjusting to the situation both physically and emotionally. So far, my proudest contribution is that I made her laugh. While raising her hospital bed, I said, “Second floor, ladies’ lingerie…” – an oldie that she used herself many times in the elevator at the senior living home she left last year.
This blog post is dedicated to all the care-givers who labor in love to give support, succor, comfort, life-saving intervention, and all other forms of ongoing assistance to humans of every age and stage of life. I am appreciative, impressed, and inspired as I witness the process of caring change the lives of people I know intimately. In my own family, I picture loved ones involved in labors of childcare, massage, elder care, estate care, feeding, clothing, housing, and so many other acts as well as in the gracious receiving of care. I’ve seen and experienced the transformation of family relationships in the give-and-take of caring. A task done in love transcends the merely useful dimension and becomes a life-giving act for both initiator and recipient.
May your labors spread love both inwardly and outwardly, enriching your own life as you enrich others’ lives. Namaste!