FINAL MAJOR PROJECT. WEEK 16.

Untitled Diptych. James Bellorini, September 2020.

Over the past six weeks or so I’ve built a new body of work. Albeit one that has roots in my original thematic explorations, but which has used them in a looser manner. So, as I begin to reflect on it, with an eye to my Critical Review of Practice and the FMP presentation, what do I see? What comes to the fore about my photographic gaze? About discernible qualities? About any potential voice there?

The first thing to note is that the work has overt painterly and graphic qualities. It’s there in subject matter, spatial division, framing, and lighting. I guess this shouldn’t surprise me. In my second CRJ post (January 2019) I acknowledged the influence of painters such as Caravaggio. And in recent weeks I’ve discussed my decision to temporarily fast from other photographers’ work, reaching into painting and music for context and inspiration. Added to this, I can’t deny my Italian heritage and my love of its artistic past, as well as my educational and career experiences in the fine and live arts.

Untitled. James Bellorini, September 2020.

My decision to use direct flash underlines these aesthetic qualities. It emphasizes shape and the graphic aspects. It ups the sensation of tableau. It enriches colour in the way that some painting mediums do (e.g. oil paints). It can, in certain cases, spatially ‘flatten’ an image, emphasising the 2D image surface (like a painting). Because of the need to consider exposure compensation when shooting in daylight, it can make the time of day more ambiguous. As a result, there is a kind of augmentation of reality resulting in a blurring of the line between fact and fiction. Something I’ve been keen to explore throughout the MA.

It can also be noted that the flash provides a level of ‘contribution’ (from what Flusser would call the apparatus) itself. It frequently highlights or alters compositional elements I wasn’t necessarily aware of at the time of shooting. This is especially noticeable in the images of plants and fruits in nature that have become part of the project (see the image above). It also plays into my desire to keep a certain level of chance, improvisation, and surprise within the image-making process for myself.

Untitled. James Bellorini, August 2020.

Also interesting to note, in relation to the influence of Renaissance painters, is the use of spatial division in some of the images. In my case I introduced mirrors as playful props, fascinated by their presence in the outside world and their ability to create illusions of space and place. This resonates with paintings from the Renaissance, as well as vanitas (which I explored in some detail in Sustainable Prospects). I can’t say I was fully conscious of this when I made the decision to use mirrors, but certain forms and motifs can make a return into my visual language at any time, even subliminally.

The Flagellation Of Christ. Piero della Francesca c.1455.
Still Life With A Mirror etc. Master Of The Vanitas Texts c. 1650.

In the context of my recent photographic work then, I see that these influences have led me to explore ‘a medium that is tied to the world but flexible in its relationship to appearances’ (Soutter, 2018, pg. 6). As a way ‘to combine actuality with imagination’ (Soutter, 2018, pg. 63). Notions that I would say harmonize between painting and my subjective photographic practice.

I will come back to this reflection on my work in future posts, so for now will leave this here so this one doesn’t get too long.

REFERENCES AND RESOURCES

BOOKS

Soutter, L. 2013. Why Art Photography? 2nd edn. Oxford, Routledge.

ARTICLES

Tate. Vanitas. Viewed 14 October 2020, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/v/vanitas

Wikipedia. Vilem Flusser. Viewed 14 October 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vil%C3%A9m_Flusser