Exercise 4.9 – Repetition

Brief:- Repetition of one image or very similar images, whether exactly the same or with slight differences in exposure, crop or image quality, elicits an inquisitive eye. Repetition emphasises the sameness and yet paradoxically indicates a difference. Andy Warhol used this strategy in his screen prints and photographs. In the image below, do you notice how the dog’s ‘stare’ becomes more insistant. Make a still life set-up of your choice, but you can use any subject. Try to emphasise your subject with the use of light. Aim to make around 20 photographs. Choose the best shot and process it to your liking. Now create a presentation of that one photograph that involves six to eight copies. Make some notes on the overall effect.


I found the repetition example used in the Foundations in Photography manual (face of a dog) to be quite uninspiring. To be honest I didn’t find that the dogs stare became more insistant. I would go as far as to say that it was full and unimaginative.

Because of this I was reluctant to produce a piece of work that was a simple replication of the initial image  Havin remembered Warhol’s series of Campbell’s Soup cans (a – Warhol, A; 1962), and some pop art posters of Marilyn Monroe, which were based upon his silkscreen canvas diptychs (b Warhol, A; 1962), I decided I would emulate these.

The most challenging aspect is beginning to understand how to use my speedlight. I used gels which cover the flash, but soon found that I couldn’t have them underneath, behind or in front of the camera. The effect was too strong even when the speedlight was on its lowest power output. The amount of light that each gel let through differed significantly, so I had to position the speedlight accordingly. Altering the aperture and ISO was necessary, and I’ve developed the images in Photoshop in order to remove shadows. I’m not comfortable with the speedlight as yet, and it would probably have worked better if I had an assistant with a reflector. Using a speedlight is a new experience, but it would have been harder to create the same result with a gel and light set up.




Warhol, A; 1962; Campbell’s Soup [Synthetic polymer paint on canvas]; Online AT: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/79809 (accessed on 07/11/2018)

b Warhol, A; 1962; Marilyn Monroe [Acrylic on canvas]; Online: AT: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/warhol-marilyn-diptych-t03093 (accessed on 07/11/2018)

11 Replies to “Exercise 4.9 – Repetition”

  1. I like the different coloured effects Richard. You could probably do with some kind of modifier / diffuser for the speedlight. The most common and cheapest one is a shoot through umbrella, or maybe a softbox with a light stand and holder for your flash. That would soften the light, make it apparently bigger to the subject, and it would also remove a stop of so of light.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Jonathon, the colour variations work well. I’m not very confident using lighting, speed lights etc & have taken note of Jonathon’s advice too. It’s something I really need to learn more about hence tend to rely on available light for most of the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this work Richard and having seen it on Instagram it as lost none of its impact viewing again in morning light.
    I am certainly not confident with the lighting stuff either but maybe darker days will inspire me!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I took a still of Shelly Duval from The Shining and made a repetitious collage out of that. It was a lot like Munch’s The Scream only with more Shelly Duval. I tinted it just a touch and sealed it with a polymer spray.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I absolutely agree about the dog images in the course folder. I looked at them and struggled to convince myself that I felt any change in the dog’s stare. I like the vibrancy of the colours you’ve used here, it’s a very visually appealing combination. I have a lot to learn when it comes to flash and don’t even have a speed light yet. Might have to be my next investment!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was given one recently, which I’m most grateful for. Thanks for your comments. I’m glad I went down the pop art route – anything to try and create engagement. Jonathan has produced the best example that I’ve seen for this exercise.


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