Jes Lee

Day 82

Today was a day of experimenting. Thankfully, many were successful, which always helps my motivation, and my mood.


My granny started me on collecting Russian dolls when I was young. My collection is not huge, but it is well loved. I have recently been thinking about how analog dolls are, particularly russian dolls, how simple they are. I have wanted to photograph them for about a week now, and finally today I found a perfect patch of sunshine where I could work on them. 

The last one is my very favorite. The last two were shot on Fade to Black polaroid film, which, just like the name implies, continues to develop and fades to black over the next 24 hours until it is completely black unless you intervene with the developing process. These scans were from the first 1/2 hour after the photos were taken. Expect to see these again soon in somewhat altered states!

I also experimented a bit with printing today. This past weekend I took a Japanese paper making class at MCBA. Today, I took one sheet of the paper that I made, and without any preperation, ran it through my printer to see how well I could print on it. I was surprised! It printed very well! This of course opens up many possibilities in my mind – such as buying kozo fibers to make into paper to print the images for this show on. It is a possibility. I am working on figuring out the logistics, and my time line, but it hasn't been ruled out yet.

I will post scans of that tomorrow.

Until then,


Day 81

I have been working on our Japan photo book a lot today. While doing this I find a lot of images that I think could be used as stand-alone images in my project. 

I came across these tonight. They were all taken with my Canon 40D (which I have decided on selling, and am ironically missing just a bit right now). 

I'm not quite sure yet how I would present these images. Obviously I've played with the toning in Photoshop and Lightroom, and not that I think there is anything wrong with it. I've been contemplating keeping things simple for the show though: compilation images in color, stand alone images in black and white. 

I used to watch her write. I watched how she formed each letter. 

Handwriting is so analog.

Handwriting carries part of the person's spirit with it. The person had to touch the paper to write what they did. Their presence is embedded there.

Is there a digital equivalent? 

Will loved ones someday look through our tweets, our facebook posts, and our flickr accounts to once again feel our presence, the same way we now hang onto and re-read cards, notes, letters, journals, and hold on to anything actually touched by those who have already gone?


Until tomorrow.


day 80

The very last drop-off for the very last Holiday sale was made today. 

Please go to visit Dabble and all of the other awesome Johnson Street Merchants on Thursday (December 10th) from 6-9 pm. Many of the shops will be having treats and special deals. It is fun! My work will be on display at Dabble. 

The snow is here. I'm actually very excited to start taking some snow photos tomorrow. This will be the first winter I have been shooting Polaroids. I'm anxious to see how they turn out.

That is all I have for today. 

Until tomorrow,


day 79

Over the weekend I got to take this amazing paper making class with Jana Pullman at MCBA

I tried paper making once before while working on my BFA degree at the U of M. I did manage to make some paper in that class, but they were all thick, very cottony, mostly uneven, and not something I ever had any inclining to use. Plus, the class made me sick, and I ended up dropping out before even reaching the mid term. 

I had talked to Jana once before about my experience while taking another class of hers, and she encouraged me to try again. I decided this class would be a nice break from the work I have been doing. 

It was amazing. The paper I made was the right thickness (most of the time!) it is strong, and amazing. My brain has been whirling all day thinking of ways to add this into my photo work. I promise to take better photos of the sheets soon.

Today, I spent the day finishing work to take to Dabble for their Holiday shopping day on Thursday. I also managed to make proofs of all the image possibilities for my show. So far there are 36 in all, though I know there will be a fair number of those that will be edited out. It does make me feel a bit better though – I am well on my way, and I feel I have even clearer direction to work in now. 

I also, of course, messed with a couple of my images again today while I was working on printing them. 

They are getting close, as it is getting harder to tell what exactly I changed. Just trust me, they are better ;)

Until tomorrow


Day 78

Apparently some comments are not appearing on my blog. I'm not sure why, and we are working on fixing that. Please don't think I'm moderating any of you! I only delete spam! Honest!

Now that that is out of the way, on to artwork.

I started working on this compilation yesterday. It is a work-in-progress that I hope to finish up by Monday so it can be added to the inventory at Dabble for their holiday sale.

I haven't come up with a title yet. So far, the working title is Gold Medal. 

Thank you to all who have visited the holiday art sales so far! Hopefully for all of us it is a successful year. 

This weekend I am taking a Japanese papermaking class at Minnesota Center for Book Arts. I really have no idea what to expect from this class, but I am excited to take it. It is being taught by Jana Pullman, one of my favorite book arts instructors. I took papermaking in college (though not Japanese style) and enjoyed it. I have wanted to get back into it a bit more and be able to some how work it into my photography. We will see where it takes me. No matter what, it will be a fun weekend. 

Until Monday,


Day 77

Some compilation images come together really easy. Sometimes, I will be in a zone where I can see exactly how everything should fit together, and know exactly what I have to do to each layer to bring everything together. 

Other images take me quite a few tries.

This is the third time I have posted a version of this image. I think this is finally it. We'll see how it prints!

Until tomorrow


Day 76

I'm realizing this is kind-of a hard season. There isn't any pretty snow yet, and it gets dark really early. Somedays, you just need a little boost! Today, I found myself remembering August. 

All taken with a Pentax K1000. It is a fun little camera to always have around with you. Much easier to fit in a purse than a medium format camera tends to be…though that doesn't stop me. I've been carrying my Mamiya in my purse most of the week.

Until tomorrow,


Day 75

Today was the last of the holiday sale drop offs.

I tried getting a few other things done today, but I didn't accomplish much. I'm honestly pretty fried right now. I'm hoping some sleep will cure that, and I'll be back to the normal artwork this week still. I have plans! 

I actually did write for a bit today, which was nice and very needed. Sorry, I didn't write anything that I am at all ready to share here. It needs a bit more editing before that. My brain is going in a couple different directions right now, including hand writing and russian dolls, and I need a bit of time to flush it out. It is coming though.

Part of my day involved showing my dad the space my show will be in come September 2010. It was awesome being able to show him, but once again, pretty overwhelming seeing the size of the space again. I am in awe that they trust me to fill up that much space with my visual ramblings. It is a big deal. I'm honored, and scared. I know this is part of the process though, and I'm dealing with it!

I'm hoping for a photo shoot this weekend if the light is nice and the temps aren't below zero or something. I have ideas of things I want to photograph. I'd like to have the time to play with it a bit.

I found this photo in my folder today and was drawn to it. Not every photo has to be perfect. Sometimes it tells more of a story if it isn't.

It was taken with my Holga camera – which is a cheap medium format camera made almost entirely of plastic. It is a pretty amazing little thing.

Until tomorrow