Unnatural? The Human Eye Craves It

You won’t often find perfect symmetry in nature, in human faces or in the cosmos. But wherever you find the architectural touch of man, or woman, you’re likely to find symmetry. The human eye craves it. Probably because it’s so unnatural. Isn’t that precisely why we find it so pleasing in our built environment? Simple or elaborate, witness the evidence of symmetry, and consider George Bernard Shaw’s famous quote:

“Consistency is the enemy of enterprise, just as symmetry is the enemy of art.”

George Bernard Shaw

Nawlins Symmetry | iPhoneography by Jann Alexander © 2015

Nawlins Symmetry | iPhoneography by Jann Alexander © 2015


Brenham Bygones by Jann Alexander © 2014

Brenham Bygones by Jann Alexander © 2014


New Mexico Doors by Jann Alexander ©2015

New Mexico Doors by Jann Alexander ©2015


Blue Duet by Jann Alexander © 2010

Blue Duet by Jann Alexander © 2010


Miles of Motel Doors, 1980 by Jann Alexander © 2014

Miles of Motel Doors, 1980 by Jann Alexander © 2014


Behind the Blue Doors by Jann Alexander ©2014

Behind the Blue Doors by Jann Alexander ©2015


Adobe Symmetry by Jann Alexander ©2015

Adobe Symmetry by Jann Alexander ©2015


Was Shaw right about symmetry? Does it work well in architecture, and not in art?

Let me know in the comments what you think of Shaw’s observation on symmetry, and which of these photographs it does, or does not, apply to. As for me, I’m drawn to symmetry when I find it, but I’m frequently shooting things that are asymmetrical, too. To see more, visit my Art + Photo Shop, HERE.


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8 replies

  1. In addition to history, we’re doing a whole series on composition. We advocate using your artistic instinct; the brain is already wired to know what’s beautiful. I like symmetry, but I do think asymmetrical compositions are what we’re naturally drawn to.

    Liked by 1 person

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