The Way I See It

Exploring Symmetry

I have always been fascinated with symmetry–especially symmetry found in nature. Plants and flowers are prime examples of how beautiful symmetry is.  But are things really symmetrical in nature?  I’ve been using Photoshop a lot lately to manipulate  some of the beautiful images of flowers I have accumulated over the past few years.  I have found that while many flowers may look symmetrical, they are not. Here is just one orchid diva (paphiopedilium orchid; a.k.a. slipper orchid) that looks incredibly symmetrical at first glance.  In Photoshop I split the original orchid image in half and mirrored (flipped horizontally) the right side to get a truly symmetrical image. I did the same with the left side.  The original slipper orchid image I took is in the middle.  It looks quite symmetrical except for the bent tip skewing to the left. The mirrored left and right sides are in their respective positions and nicely illustrate how symmetry in nature is really not so symmetrical after all.

Slipper Orchids Photography by Janet Towbin

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