UNTITLED #6 (from DOMESTIC ICARUS sequence).
Copyright James Bellorini 2020.

I had a few frustrations in Week 5 around photo-shoots with collaborators and other ideas that weren’t working; images didn’t add to my ongoing work-in-progress. I think I was beginning to get a bit confused about the intentions behind my work. Also, experimentation can sometimes be a dead end. I have to remind myself of that.

In hindsight I see that there there were factors such as shooting in someone’s home, and resisting my instincts, that resulted in images that were somewhat void of dialogue.

This, inevitably, led to a few days reflection on my work as well as some anxiety mixed with the deep creative ‘itch’ that needs to be scratched when I know I need to express something but haven’t quite found the means.

During this reflection I went back to research: a lot of reading across disciplines (see the reference list below). I also attended an online peer group meeting and discussed my frustrations, and it was mentioned by one of my peers that they were surprised that I wasn’t more overtly present in some of my work. So I began freewheeling ideas and then without over-thinking I acted upon them using myself as a direct subject.

UNTITLED TRIPTYCH (from biomythographical sequence 7.3.2020.)
Copyright James Bellorini 2020.

Taking that leap of faith and placing myself front and centre in the images this week has been intriguing. Although I am present in some of my previous M.A. practice work from other modules, I’ve not been comfortable with self-portraiture, not for any vanity reason, it just never felt like something that I wanted to use to communicate my ideas. And besides I find other people much more fascinating. However, in terms of exploring the performative, which is something I’ve been increasingly doing in my practice, it is a shorthand way to create images that add to my project work without fear of asking someone else to do something they might not be comfortable with. I’ve said it a few times in previous modules, but a major part of my process is building a ‘lexicon’ of images embedded in my thematic explorations which I can play with, find relationships between, and then bring to my work-in-progress. I must remind myself that way of working means that at times it will not work out. And that’s ok. As Michelle Sank reminded me in an earlier tutorial I need to keep making work, but with that level of output that needs to happen in order for this project to bear full fruit there’s inevitably going to be weaker work, images that don’t have an immediate sense of place within the wider project context or dialogue.

UNTITLED #33 (from DOMESTIC ICARUS sequence).
Copyright James Bellorini 2020.


Fortenberry, D and Morrill, R (ed.). 2018. Flying Too Close To The Sun. London: Phaidon Press Ltd.

Fortenberry, D. and Morrill, R (ed.). 2015. Body Of Art. London: Phaidon Press Ltd.

Soutter, L. 2018. Why Art Photography? 2nd edn. London: Routledge.

Tharp, T. 2006. The Creative Habit. New York: Simon & Schuster.