Jes Lee

A new week can make a big difference

Today is part of a new week. A new week from last week, where things weren't working quite right. 

It appears those things are working much better this week.

I worked on two new compilations yesterday. I'm not convinced they are finished, but they are getting better. 

Right now loosely titled Trees it contains 3 images from our Hawaii trip. Two medium format film images taken with my Hasselblad, and one polaroid taken with my Sx-70.

I also put together this one using photos from our Japan trip:

This contains two black and white photos, taken with my Mamiya C330, and one digital image taken with my Canon 40D. I'm not against mixing digital images into my compilations, it just has to be the right one.

They are works in progress. 

I've been uploading a lot of travel photos here and to my Flickr account lately. It has been nice in a way to feel like I'm accomplishing something, hearing feed back about them, and seeing all of them again always helps me find new sources for compilations for my show. 

You can find photos from our Japan trip here on Flickr. I am not through uploading, or adding descriptions and tags to all of the photos, so keep checking back there! 

The photos from our trip to Hawaii are being added on my site here, and on Flickr. I'm not finished processing all of the images, so more will be added soon!

Thank you for all of your kind words about my work, and for looking through the hundreds of photos I post! Your kind words and suggestions mean a lot to me!


Until next time,



No matter how good your intentions are, they just don't always end up like you want them to.

I worked hard today on pictures and artwork for my show.

I didn't feel like anything was coming together right though, and by the end of the day, I was a frustrated mess with a crink in my neck, less hard drive space than I started with, and nothing much to show for it.

But at least I worked. I did something. I may feel like it is crap now, but at the end of the day, it is still something, and I'm holding on to that.

We have a busy weekend ahead of us, but it does involve some time with friends, and some photos to be taken, and many things to look forward to. On Monday I'll come back to all of this photo work with hopefully a new outlook, and hopefully some better luck at creating things that work.

Until then, I'll just be hanging out.


Until next time,



I've been quiet on here lately.

Truthfully, I've been a bit overwhelmed with photo work to create much of a blog post. 

The last thing I want to do here is whine about how hard I'm working.

There are photos coming! In fact the desktop on my laptop is getting quite full of images sized and waiting to be uploaded. They are coming soon! I promise!

A few new announcements:

~  I have one piece hanging in the Foot in the Door show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. There is an opening reception this Thursday night (February 18th). The show will run through June 13th. It should be pretty amazing to see! Almost 5,000 Minnesota artists have work on display at this show!

~  I was invited to participate in the "Around the World: A Photography Group Show" at Gallery 122 in NE Minneapolis. The show will be on display from May 14th through June 12th with an opening reception on Friday, May 14th (also the first day of Art-a-Whirl!).

~  Dabble is going to continue to display (and hopefully sell!) my artwork in their shop for sure through Art-a-Whirl. Please do stop by there! 

~  I will hopefully be selling pottery and a few other things at Johnstock during Art-a-Whirl again.

~  September, and my solo exhibition at Bloomington Art Center is coming up…pretty fast actually….


Now, I'm going to get back to working on artwork for all of these events. 

I'll re-appear soon…I hope ;-)


Until next time,




maybe quite a bit more often than just sometimes…

it is hard to get back into the swing of working…even if work involves something you love. 

Sometimes the task just seems too daunting.

The process I'm in the middle of right now, of developing and scanning in all of the film I shot on our trip to Hawai'i is especially huge! (even though the great techs over at National Camera are developing my color film for me…the water in my darkroom sink doesn't quite go high enough for color chemicals…) It doesn't help that I set unreasonable deadlines for myself as to when it should all be done, or try and make everyone who asks me about them happy by having some posted immediately (I know no one means to stress me out! You just want to see them as badly as I do!!)

So why do I do this? Why do I shoot film that adds about 85 zillion steps to this process?

For the great surprises I get. For the images that I don't really see until I'm hunched over my computer, loading my scanner tray, almost going cross eyed trying to make sure there is no dust on any of the negatives. The images that make me stop, that I know instantly will go in my project somewhere, that don't ever really leave my mind until I've worked them to completion.

This is one of those images. I saw it on my preview scan and stopped and stared. It was taken from my what became one of my favorite places. I was sitting on a pier looking out at the ocean, seeing the hotel and city lights, listening to the waves. Our friends took us here on our first night on the island. I took this photo on one of our last nights. 

These are the surprises that keep me shooting film.

Yesterday, I sat down and started playing with images, finding images that work together, making compilations that might work in my show in September.

I was drawn to the image above, and knew that had to be part of a compilation. 

I started playing…

This image I took at Hanama Bay, where we went snorkeling. It was probably one of my favorite activities of the trip, and the first place I ever snorkeled (with the exception of my grandparent's pool!)

I worked on layering these two images together, lining them up in the right way, blending colors. It seemed so simple…

This is what I ended up with:

Kind of fitting I think to make a compilation out of my two favorite places from our trip.

The bottom part is a bit dark and heavy I think, and I'm not quite sure I'm done with this image, though I like it a lot.

I wrote a bit on the plane, and something I wrote keeps kind-of haunting me (in a good way) and I think I will print that in the black area at the bottom. I think it will fit.

I can't wait to see what else I find in the rest of my film.


Until next time,


Good Weekends

It has been a good weekend. 

Thursday I got work dropped off for the Foot in the Door show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

I finished scanning the polaroids I took in Hawai'i, and got the digital photos (hello little underwater camera!) imported to my computer. I love looking through all of them.

Most of all, my weekend has been filled with anticipation – the good kind.

I know that next week I'll have time to finish developing the rolls of black and white film I shot in Hawai'i. I know that the color film I shot will be done being processed. I love polaroids, and I love the pictures we took with our digital camera, but I absolutely love the film images I get. There is something magical about waiting for it to be developed. Instant gratification is awesome, but so is waiting.

I'm lusting after a 4×5 Graflex Super Graphic (This is possibly due to the biography of Dorothea Lange I'm reading…she shot with a 4×5 a lot).

I'm going on a photo adventure with some friends tonight to see the ice candles Minneapolis always puts up around the Loppet track on Lake Calhoun. Things like that always get me excited for the weekend, and the coming week when I can really look forward to my Monday and Tuesday and have many fun possibilities for my studio work days.

Happy weekend!!


I’m back

Last week I was lucky enough to take another trip with my sweetie. This trip found us in Hawai'i on the island of Oahu where we drank Mai Tai's and ate Fish Tacos,

we took surfing lessons (much much harder than it looks!)

and sat out on the patio of our hotel room and listened to the noises of Waikiki.

This trip I traveled with my Polaroid Sx-70, my Hasselblad 501c/m with 3 lenses and a Polaroid back and a small digital camera that can go underwater. I took a lot of pictures, thought I broke my Sx-70 (I fixed it today), and renewed my inspiration to photograph, to create, and to work on my project. I have a lot of work ahead of me, and this trip helped me get ready.

This trip wasn't all about photographing though! I spent the week hanging out with my sweetie doing amazing things and seeing amazing places, and best of all, watching two friends get married. There were quite a few of us there. We hung out, ate dinner together and shared stories over Mai Tai's many nights. It is really hard not to be happy in Hawai'i, and when you are watching two friends commit to sharing their lives together, it is impossible to not be happy.

The ceremony took place on one of the beaches along the north shore of Oahu. I don't remember the name of this beach, so I'll forever call it 'Shannon and Drew's Beach'

They saw each other for the first time in their wedding outfits on this rocky shore by the ocean. It seemed like it was straight out of a movie.

Congrats to Shannon and Drew!!! May you enjoy many many many many wonderful years together! :)

Little moments lead to awesome moments. Enjoy every one of them.


More photos (from Hawai'i, Japan, and artwork type) to come soon!