Exercise 4.9 Repetition

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 emphasizes the sameness and yet paradoxically indicates a difference. Andy Warhol used this strategy in his screenprints and photographs. In the image below, do you notice how the dog’s ‘stare’ becomes more insistent through repetition? 1. Make a still life set-up of your choice, but you can use any subject. 2. Try to emphasize your subject with the use of light. 3. Aim to make around 20 photographs. 4. Choose the best shot and process it to your liking. 5. Now create a presentation of that one photograph that involves six to eight copies. Make some notes on the overall effect.

My thoughts: Repetition, in my experience, may be used in many ways to enhance a composition. I have used this exercise to try and identify the various ways in which one can use repetition.

  1. Pattern: Repetition can be used to create a pattern using one form or design and can result in a pleasing visual arrangement. Usage of this individual image can be done in many ways to achieve unique patterns and designs.
The repetition of this camel’s face reinforces his smile and is amusing to look at. The single image didn’t do as much but after repeating it multiple times, I was actually chuckling looking at the camel’s face who appears to be smiling.
In this series, I have used different angles of the camel’s close-ups to experiment what works most effectively.
A different body part and the result is totally different. What made one smile in one image, in this one the viewer is actually drawn into the eye of the camel, that appears to be more soulful and deep.
This is interesting for me as various different forms can be identified within each image and they form patterns within themselves. This image can be fragmented further and some really intricate patterns can be developed for some great visual stories.
  1. Size and largeness: Repetition may also be used to create an illusion of a large size or volume. A repeated form makes a visual appear larger than it is. An overflowing visual will give an appearance of a large volume or large number than it actually might be. The same individual image, when used more than once create an illusion of something bigger. When even further increased, it can create even a much larger end result.
This is a single image consisting of not more than 25-30 Yak horns. The horns spill out of the frame and give an illusion of a much larger number. What happens when we repeat this image multiple times?
The resulting image appears to be much large in comparison to the original single image.
I have repeated the fire here 9 times and in the following image much more than this. The difference between the two images is stark even though they inherently are made up of one single image. The illusion of a much wider or larger fire is apparent in the second visual.


  1. Impact/Effect – Repetition can be used to create a visual impact or guide the viewer’s eye to the area that you want to highlight or emphasize. It may be used to create illusions and other visual effects. The multiple usages of a single form may also help in reinforcing a certain element within your composition and a focus point which might not be seen in a single form can be enhanced greatly by repeating.
The repetition of this image of the prayer flag results in emphasizing the gateway kind of a formation that appears in the bottom half of the image. Multiple repeats reinforce that illusion and compel the viewer into it.
Here the black and white image in the center tends to break away from the monotony of the pattern. It may also be interpreted as emphasizing the black & white tile. Such a technique can be used to create an area of impact within your composition.

4. Different moods – Here I have tried repetition with different light gels to emulate Andy Warhol’s style and the result is quite dynamic. Each visual gives a different mood and put together its quite pop art kind of a visual effect.

This image of this tree appears to be like a hand, which is interesting in itself as the repetition of the wooden “limb” together forms the shape of a hand. This is a great example of a naturally occurring repetition. Here one can see how repetition may form something of interest on its own. Further applying light filters on to it take the visual to another level, creating a certain dynamism to it.

Reflections: This exercise is merely an introduction to how repetition may be used. It may not look like anything in this format but repetition while making images can create some really striking visual effects. Repetition used rightly can create some stunning visual effects and impact and can be used in many unique and different ways to build and add strength to your composition.



9 Replies to “Exercise 4.9 Repetition”

  1. You have done a lot of work here Archna and I like it it a lot. I find the Yak horns fascinating but I think my favourite is the last one of the tree, this reminds me of an Andy Worhol style picture. Excellent exercise and very well executed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I find the camel series most interesting and I’m glad you’ve made 4 series here. Different emotions to appear and are emphasized by the repeatition, firstly humour, then stateliness, then mournful, but your last camel is doing its best to look like an ostrich.

    The fire I also found the apparent change of intensity was significant, the more relaxed burn in the first series and more intense in the second.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Richard. You have quite perfectly understood exactly what I was trying to achieve here. Yes, the camel series was fun to have and more for myself I wanted to see what the results are experimenting with different facial features of him. Hahaha! You are quite right about the 🐫 looking like an ostrich! Good fun this was.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s really effective. It’s been an eye opener on the benefits of repetition, which I struggled to understand before.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A very professional study of repetition Archna with such a variety of results. Repetition is used in the uk media just now quite a lot. For example to emphasise TV channels and in advertising. Political parties and others use repetition to emphasise their message. You have expertly analysed and synthesised this form of image making so well. Thank you.


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