‘At Least Say Hello’ (from PUNK FOOD OPERA sequence). James Bellorini, July 2020.

The writer John Steinbeck famously once said: ‘Now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.’

What I’ve realised about the Final Major Project process (for myself) is that it is an opportunity to reinvent some (if not all) that has come before. Where I had assumed it was a ‘culmination’ and drawing together of that prior work and knowledge, it is actually more fluid than that. A chance to experiment in context with everything I’ve explored over the past 18 months and need now to take to a deeper level. With an accompanying need for even greater commitment of emotions, ideas, time, and abilities.

Without this, it’s my belief, that it’s not possible to really recompense the project for the journey that has come before and to make it a worthwhile and realised endeavour.

Ice Cream Vanitas (from PUNK FOOD OPERA). James Bellorini, July 2020.

I see that the agonising over the work a few days ago (and represented in my previous post) was a burgeoning realisation that I wasn’t in a place to move forward with the it UNLESS I grew my commitment and threw fear and perfectionism out of the window in order to begin the process of digging even deeper. This has meant confronting the project in light of the work and ideas already explored which almost have the presence of burdens: calling to be continually recognised but actually being darlings to be got rid of. And releasing any attempt to control work at this stage. Not easy but necessary for my own progress.

Steinbeck’s words, therefore, are pertinent here. The ‘darkness’ of being lost last week was an instigator for really attempting to understand what I’m trying to say with my photography, my voice, and how that connects with my personal motivations. And also to remove expectations both of myself and how the work is received – I can’t control that reaction and it is one of the bugbears that transfers itself from my commercial practice: the need to please.

‘Message From Agadir’ (from PUNK FOOD OPERA). James Bellorini, July 2020.

So, a process of confronting those obstacles in my practice and approach has started in order to really resolve the overarching desire I have had since beginning the MA to find a voice for the work. One that challenges me to be more honest with myself and what I am willing to show in the work. Risking ‘an aspect of the self’, as Lucy Soutter states (Soutter, 2018 p 103). Undermining my desire to please. Hopefully, that might lead to a better understanding of what the project wants to say.

During a commercial shoot for a client a few days ago I began to play with a phrase in my mind: punk food opera. What if the whole project is a punk food opera? I don’t fully understand it’s meaning and I’m not trying to. But I do know that instinctively it speaks to me (and the conceptual and emotional heart of the project) more directly. This phrase/notion is more personal and relevant to the work. Potentially it could reinvigorate my connection to the project. How it’s use plays out moving forward, I don’t fully know. But I am using the phrase to explore a renewed approach and visual aesthetic as (hopefully) can be seen ion these first images here. Drawing on something historic within me, referring to personal musical heritage that in many ways I have overlooked. Which, in turn, reinforces the biomythographical current within the project which is important and necessary for me to examine.


Soutter, L. 2018. Why Art Photography? (2nd Ed). London, Routledge.