Jes Lee

May days come and go

It surprised me this morning that May is already gone, and we are into June and well on our way to summer. 

John and I celebrated our anniversary just over a week ago. It has been 6 years since our second wedding ceremony…

The wedding ceremony after he got back from overseas where we actually had time to plan it to be like we wanted. 


John's hands – taken with PX100 first flush instant film

We celebrated by spending a whole day together, doing fun, normal little things, and being outside a lot. It isn't often it is this nice and warm here in May. Recently we have had a few more long days like that to spend together. It has been wonderful. He helps center me more than he will ever know.

Bike tires – taken with PX100 first flush film

Sometimes you need days like that to remember why you are working so hard on something….

remember what you are working towards.

Expired Polaroid Blue 100 peel apart film

Sometimes you also need people to remind you to take a break and have fun before summer is gone.

Splash – taken with a point-and-shoot digital Pentax camera that is waterproof

I feel like I am ready for June. I have more of a plan. 

Thank you to everyone who has reminded me what I'm doing, that it is ok to get a little extra sleep, that it is ok to leave more of my cameras at my studio (which makes biking easier!), that I still need to give myself time off once in awhile, and that it is ok to go back to taking pictures just for fun.

Happy summer!


Watch out, it’s getting personal…

It isn't easy working on putting together a large show, but it is fun. Seeing how the finished pieces will fit together, finalizing prints. You learn a lot; 

about yourself, about your work style, about your emotional breaking point…

I learned that I can fit full size sheets of matt board in my car and that they can lay flat. I can also fit at least 8 frames in there at the same time, though it doesn't leave any room for a passenger.

It does get stressful though. It isn't easy as spring is being wonderful and spring like to stay inside a tiny studio where you can't even take a full step without stepping on something.

I try and get out and play with cameras a bit when I'm feeling really down. Sometimes even that is hard though.

Will still have our home on the market to sell. It has been awhile, but not as long as the average 'on market' time for a place in our area. Until then, we keep only what we need at home, and the things we need that are most important are carried with every day so those things aren't at home when someone comes to look. That in a way makes you feel a bit like a turtle: no real home, just various places you go and set your stuff down at.

I try to get outside and forget about it. I biked to my studio today, one large backpack and a camera bag strapped to my back. Thankfully the ride to my studio is mostly downhill. 

It was during that ride that I realized I had 5 cameras with me. A bit too many, but where would I leave one?

You want things close in case you need them…

This morning my husband pulled a bucket out of our kitchen cupboard. It was one I have used to let bread dough raise in, though it has been awhile since I have made that bread. He asked me if we really  needed it in there, that it was taking up space. 

I cried. 

He looked at me, very puzzled, asking if the bucket was really possibly that important to me…

I cried harder. It isn't the bucket (no, the bucket really isn't that important), it is the feeling that I have no where that is truly my place to 'be'. To spread out the contents of my show, to leave a camera, knowing it will be there when I need it, and assessable at all times, and that I won't have to make a special trip in the car to go and get it. It is the physical exhaustion of taking things with you every morning. 

This past weekend was Art-a-Whirl. It is huge, and fun, and filled with so many creative people, it is hard not to be inspired. I had work in a photography group show that opened Friday night, and had a wonderful time at the reception, talking to visitors, friends, and family who came to see it. Saturday and Sunday I spent the day outside in a tent with my husband and a friend, selling creative things. The ladies at Dabble were selling my photography, so I didn't bring any of that with. Just pottery and some treasures made by friends. It is enjoyable sharing a booth with friends. I realized though I was selling more of 'other people's creative work' than my own. It made me sad. I hadn't bothered to bring any of my photography with – any why not?? Time I suppose. I love working on making and selling pottery with my dad, but at the same time, there is so much more I want to do with the pottery I am creating, that it is hard to see my pieces as 'finished' or even really that 'good'. So I sell more of my dad's work, which is pretty cool, but again, it isn't mine. The festival was fun, but exhausting.

So now we are nearing the end of May. I have a print I am donating that is due in a couple weeks, I need to decide what image will go on the postcard for my show in September (any suggestions would be awesome!), and I am feeling lost, and homeless, and am biking around the city with 5 cameras and a laptop strapped to my back (and at least 3 cups of coffee in my system).

I do believe this little freak out session is right about on schedule.

Hold on, it will be a bumpy ride!

Until next time,


Little bits

I was playing with a few images, and created this last Wednesday.

It was created from three instant film images – one done with expired 600 film, and two with the new PX100 film. 

I'm not quite certain if it is finished or not, but it was nice to play with pictures again for a bit. You might find a framed print of this for sale at Dabble during Art-a-Whirl! Just saying :)

It's hard to keep focusing only on printing and framing. 

There will be more to post soon. I've been playing with a couple of toy cameras, and enjoying them quite a bit! 

For now though, I'm getting ready for the weekend. It will be a great weekend, filled with art and friends, and being part of what I love! I'll be at Johnstock selling pottery Saturday and Sunday, along with a couple of friends selling the great things they create.

Friday night the Around the World: A Photography Group Show opens at Gallery 122. I'll be there, enjoying meeting the other artists, seeing a bit of my work up on the wall, and hanging out with friends. I hope you can stop by! It will be a fun night!

Until next time,


Story time

When I was around 8 years old, my Granny had gotten a glass apple filled with liquid and gold flakes as a gift. Unfortunately, the seal was broken, and the apple leaked. One afternoon when I was hanging out with her (i.e. both my parent's were working) she told me that she had found where the apple was made, and we were going to go there and see if they could fix it. 

So off we went to Goldenflow Studio in NE Minneapolis. They were a bit surprised to see us, but quickly replaced her apple with a new one, and offered us a tour of the studio, including where they were blowing glass.

It was that day that I decided I wanted to be an artist.

I mean, here were all these people, listening to loud music, laughing, and making really awesome things. It looked like a blast, and quite possibly the most perfect job in the world to an 8 year old. 

So, I've realized since then that while being an artist is a totally awesome thing to be, it sometimes isn't your only job, and it sometimes isn't fun (like when there is framing involved), but it is awesome to create things and do something that makes you happy.

A few years ago when John and I were shopping around Art-a-Whirl looking for some new things to decorate our condo with, we came across Goldenflow's space. I knew I had to have one of their little gold baubles, and we picked out one we both liked.

Last week, when I was trying out the Impossible Project's new instant film, I shot this…

A snapshot of the little gold pyramid we still have out in our living room.

In a way it reminds me why I do what I do, and reminds me of that day when I decided what I wanted to be. 

Until next time,


Where am I?

Once again I'm way overdue for posting here….

I haven't said much here for awhile. Mostly because I haven't had much to post about except being overwhelmed with little details….

And I refuse to let this turn into a blog of whining….

This is what I have been seeing the most of lately. Working to finish prints for the show at Gallery 122 that opens in less than two weeks. This week I will be working on framing the pieces just as soon as my glass cutters come in the mail….

It has been a long time since I've spent most of the day outside taking pictures. I keep hoping to remedy that, but something is always un-cooperative. That isn't to say I haven't been taking pictures. They are just a bit more sparse right now. Monday marks the beginning of 'Roid Week on Flickr. That always means a fun time with quite a bit of inspiration. I'll be posting more photos then.

The rest of the time, my mind has been very scattered lately. I have plans for making a new pinhole camera (I swear this one will work!…unlike many of the others….) and I have two more toy cameras coming in the mail. I've been trying to write more dialogues to put on a few prints for my show at Bloomington, and I've been trying out the new instant PX100 film (results of that to be posted later).

I saw part of Wing Young Huie's University Avenue project this weekend. There is a lot more of it to see, and I'm going to enjoy going back to it many times over the summer to see all of it. I was lucky enough to take a workshop of his last summer while he was working on this, and got to see some of it in it's early stages. I don't know how to describe it. To say it is powerful doesn't do it justice. The number of people and organizations involved in this is astounding. To see the prints in person is incredible! 

In his workshop, he worked on teaching us how to record the details of a place. Most specifically to record the people in these places, and how to walk up to people and ask to take their picture (or not ask and just take the picture anyway). The workshop lasted 3 days. I honestly didn't take many photos of people. It isn't normally my thing. But I took a few. And when I look back on those, I like them. I'm taking a few more now. Not so much where I go up to random people on the street and ask to photograph them. But I take more photos of the people around me. My friends. My family. A way of documenting. I did more of this when we were in Hawaii. It is something I'm trying to keep up. 

I took this photo of him during the workshop. It was during our last day of shooting. We were out on University Avenue. He was going to do some shooting as well, gathering more material for his project. For the record, no I didn't ask if I could take this photo. I just took it. I think over 1/2 of the students took a photo of him standing like that talking to us. 

Where is this all going?

I'm not really sure. 

I've been realizing that there are more people in the images in my project than I realized. I guess they kind of snuck in. The train conductors in Japan, friends in Hawaii, my husband. I think my granny was the first person I deliberately put in one of my compilations a few years ago. I have scans of so many old photos of her. 

It is the old photos that tell the strangest stories though. 

Does film in general tell more of a story than digital photos do? Or does it have more to do with the print? The final image made with the negative – digital or film? Do the creases and stains on a print add more to the story? Are stories analog? As usual, there are more questions than answers. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Until next time,