DARIA (50.1022° N, 18.5463° E). James Bellorini, July 2020.

In this week’s tutorial I became aware that, even though I am able to make strong portraits, they don’t say enough. They’re too safe in relation to my development as both a photographer and for the project. I’ve known this for a while, but one tends to fall back on one’s strengths. Yet, I’ve approached the MA as a means to break safe patterns of working. So, I am aware that the way I want to work is to go challenge the approaches of my commercial practice wherever possible. Especially when I am creating images which need to speak to ‘the “I” of the work’ (Soutter, 2018 p.99).

The strongest approach here then is when portraiture veers into ‘abstraction’ (unlike the image above). PRESENCE rather than direct portrayal. Perhaps narrative that is eluded to as well. A greater ambiguity perhaps.

From there it becomes a case of how images work in dialogue. Breaking the sanctity of the single image. Which is something I was exploring in detail in my last 2 modules. Especially diptychs. So, yesterday’s tutorial reinforced what I’ve already discovered for myself. That’s good. That means that I was already moving on a productive track. Even though I’ve not been consistent with that in FMP.

It’s becoming clearer that I have to learn to defend what is working for me when I’m showing work. Because any discussion will have to navigate personal taste. Images moving in a pertinent direction don’t always resonate with someone else. But then they do with the next. This is hard work for me at the moment as I am disassembling my project to reassemble it afresh. It’s a delicate balancing act. Taking on board what I need to, and defending what elsewhere for myself as creator and for the project. It’s about holding these things lightly at the moment. Exploring and developing the project through practice-led research.

I love portraiture. I love making images of people. Finding something revelatory in a glance or gesture. But, in the context of this project, the portraits taken so far are not speaking enough.

This means that moving forward I need to set defined goals around the kind of portraits I want to take, and the locations, objects etc that will go into them. In terms of the overall project clarity I’m seeking, this comes back to examining the evocative power of food and people’s relationship to it. It’s potential to conjure states of being, place, and memory through pleasure and sensuality.


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