MODULE 4: INFORMING CONTEXTS. WEEK 3.

Closing in on the end of the first three weeks of this module and I’m going to look briefly at where I’m at in terms of my work-in-progress portfolio for this module. This post will crossover with some other posts uploaded this week, but I still think it’s relevant to take a look at the progress of my W.I.P. folio more specifically.

I’m gonna start with one of my main frustrations, one that I’ve run into before, but now occurs more frequently as my pool of collaborators has grown. That is the inevitable obstacles one faces when organising photo-shoots with a wide range of people: the last minute changes of schedule, the cancellation of shoots, and the patience I need to have when this happens.

For example, today I had a shoot planned with a young woman in London who has been very keen on being part of the project ever since she saw some of my work at the V&A last year. Due to last minute work commitments she has had to cancel. I’m used to it from across my time on the M.A. (and in my working practice too), but it does throw me because obviously I am time-pressured each week in terms of the creation of work for the M.A. If one photo session drops, that’s one week lost for that specific part of the work. It’s anxiety inducing. I have plenty of collaborators, which is great but, even so, what tends to happen in these circumstances is that I make other work in a reactive way. I’d rather be making something than nothing. But then I question: why am I doing this? Is this what I want to be making right now? Does it relate?

So, I have to remind myself that this is a creative process and pull myself back to what it is I want to fulfil in terms of the objectives I set myself at the beginning of the module (see this post and the image below). Back to ‘the spine’ as Twyla Tharp calls it in her book The Creative Habit (2009).

Working Ideas List.
James Bellorini 2020.

This leads me on, then, to quantifying what, from these objectives, I’ve been working on so far and what has actually gone into my WIP so far.

One of the key things I set out to do during this module was to experiment with digital manipulations as an extension to the work I did in the Surfaces and Strategies module. There I was using a lot of collage/montage work on paper, clear plastic etc. and physically layering these elements, then rephotographing them into a single image. So, this current digital approach is an extension of that and an opportunity to revisit what I learnt and created earlier, and develop that further. This has definitely become a main part of my practice during this Module. And I talk about this approach and some of the outcomes in more detail in this post.

The work is strongly manipulated and might include exposures layered digitally, plus I’m frequently then editing colours, textures etc either in or out of the images.

Third Culture Kids (and adults) have definitely become an ever-clearer focus in terms of portraits and collaborators and I am going to keep going with this element of the work for now. As I work with people my understanding of their experiences grows (in relation to my own), and the greater parts of their lives around them comes into view providing me with further ideas and instances with which I can respond photographically. This is good. Slow, but good. I think it contains something strong as a strand within my overall thematic research.

Methodologically, I want to keep challenging the preconceptions I have of myself as a photographer. I feel this is about maintaining a level of curiosity and not to be afraid of pushing myself out of my comfort zone. To keep exploring approaches within the context of my overarching project theme, and to embed the learning coming from this module especially around the nature of constructed work.

Module 4 early WIP Portfolio edit.
Copyright James Bellorini 2020.

I am already playing with images in my work-in-progress portfolio, as can be seen above, initially exploring how images work together. Some images stay, some have been removed already, but it’s early days in the growth of it. I tend to first put images into my online Scrapbook on my M.A. folio site (see below) then as images begin to work for me in terms of narrative or connectivity with other images, they gravitate out into the main Module folio gallery.

Screen capture from my M.A. website scrapbook page.
All images Copyright James Bellorini.

REFERENCES AND RESOURCES

Tharp, T. 2009. The Creative Habit. New York: Simon & Schuster.