Jes Lee

Sometimes it doesn’t hit until later

Sometimes it doesn’t hit you until later, much later in the day, when you are biking somewhere, to-do lists swimming in your brain waves, that a comment, kind of a flippant comment, a comment full of sarcasm at the time it was said referencing something funny or ironic

sometimes it hits you much later what those little comments really mean

what they really stand for

“He said, ‘It sounded like there were mortars going off’ and I laughed to myself, thinking ‘you don’t know what mortars really sound like’, you don’t know what something really sounds like until you can sleep through it.”

It makes you want to get your butt back on your bike and peddle home as fast as humanly possible.

It makes you grateful and sad and angry and thankful and in love more than you ever thought possible all at once.

These are the days that I wish I could make all the wrongs in the world better and I realize that I can’t, that it isn’t humanly possible, but I can try, as hard as I can.


August will be a crazy, insane month for me. 

September will be just as crazy, but we’re taking it one month at a time here.

The other day, this idea came through my Google Reader and Twitter feed. It is a very good idea.

The August Break: for the month of August, instead of focusing on words in your blog posts, to focus on photos. Posting what you are doing in a picture, and letting that speak for itself. The best part: no rules. 

I plan on participating, both on this blog, and on my jesleephotos blog. Somedays I will post the same photos on both blogs, somedays they will be different. We’ll see where this takes me.






August is almost here.

I already know it will be a crazy month for me, finishing up work for my show, trying to organize so I am not scrambling at the last minute.

I figured that my blogging would suffer even more neglect than it usually does. One day, I saw this come through my Twitter feed and my Google Reader: The August Break

The idea: let photos speak for themselves. That is what you will see here. Photos from a variety of cameras, photos of what I'm working on, what is happening in my world, maybe some self portraits. I am excited. At a time when I have to focus so much on finishing photo work, and framing, it will be nice to have somewhere to focus on posting photos. All photos will also be posted in my Flickr Photostream, so if you have an easier time keeping up with Flickr, check for them there.

Until next time!



Turning things around

It started out like most Mondays…

things weren’t working right, my coffee wasn’t kicking in fast enough, all the typical Monday stuff that leave me overwhelmed under a pile of to-do lists. 
Somehow I managed to get things organized at home and get myself on my bike to pedal to my studio.
Along the way, instead of letting myself focus on everything I’m worried about with the impending deadline of this project (omg! less than 2 months!!!) I chanted in my head ‘Let it go’, thinking about the poem I linked to in one of my previous posts. Yeah, it sounds a bit cheesy I suppose, but it worked! I ended up having a fairly successful day in my darkroom, and was able to stop working a bit early, after a few difficult photos weren’t working out, and not feel like I was just quitting and giving up. I actually have a good print to work on tomorrow when I go back. Somedays, I guess a little chanting is all it takes. 

In other news, I really wish I could get on with re-decorating our condo. Of course, I don’t dare start due to the (omg! less than 2 months!!!) deadline I have coming up, but really, I can dream can’t I? This blog post came through my Google Reader, and oh my! I would love to have a pretty desk to do something like that to! I would put this quote on it:

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” — Louise Erdrich

The quote is from a book called ‘The Painted Drum’ by Louise Erdrich. She is a favorite author of mine, and you can see her Goodreads page here: I keep daydreaming of that desk with that quote on it. Of course, we are painting, not planning on buying new furniture, including desks, but, you never know! :)

More soon :)




It has been a very long time since I have sat in this car….
Also a very long time since this car has had a floor ;)



It has been a long time since I’ve sat in this car!
It has also been a long time since this car has had a floor :)

Often in the dark

I have been spending a lot of time in the darkroom. 

Honestly, it feels good to be back in there. There is something about it. Something so basic. This will sound cheesy, but it is kind of like coming back home after a very long vacation. I'm printing on Ilford Fiber paper, which honestly, when your prints are good (and I mean pretty perfect tone wise!) it looks gorgeous! I love it! A friend, and excellent photographer, Cate Vermeland once described it as a moody paper. I have never heard a more fitting description.

I've been spending quite a bit of time in my own darkroom printing some traditional black and white photos that will go in my show in September. I'll post more about which ones soon.

Last week I also assisted a very good friend, and my former professor, Laura Migliorino, at Anoka Ramsey Community College while she was teaching the pinhole photography class. We had a blast! 

I'm planning on spending quite a bit more time today in my darkroom as well. We'll see what I get printed!

The rest of the last few weeks, I have been finishing up processing photos from a sweet little photo shoot I did for a friend.

Here is little Miss Anna!

You can see more from that photo shoot here.

And of course there was this fun little photo shoot with my Little Guy that I just finished as well. Little people are so much fun!

You can see more of those photos here.


Until next time,


Inspirational blog posts part 1

There are times when I am a bit obsessed with Google Reader. In it I can categorize, read, keep track of, and share so many blogs and so many beautiful posts.

Then, there are times when I don’t have time to check it for a week and when I finally get around to it, discover that I now have 1000 unread blog postings that I have subscribed to, plus another 500 posts that my friends I am connected with have shared with me. Around that time I generally run away screaming to hide somewhere in a little overwhelmed heap.

Occasionally, when I do have the chance to read through my subscriptions, I do find amongst all the fluff and cooking blogs, (there is nothing wrong with being obsessed with cooking blogs!!) something that really makes me stop and think. When that happens, I’m going to try and link to it here, because maybe you need it too, or maybe I just need a better way to bookmark it and find it again.

Last week I found this blog post by Susannah Conway. She teaches some pretty awesome sounding photo workshops online called Unravelling. I think that someday I’d like to take one of her workshops….

She posted this blog about ‘letting go’ and it seriously made me cry. I needed so badly to read something like that that particular day. Reading it again now makes me a little weepy still, because I still need to hear it. I think I always will for one reason or another, but I’m getting better, little by little.

Life is Letting Go ~

Analog printing

I have been working on the text portion of this project. 

Certain images have dialogs that go with them. The dialogs are typeset in 14 point Standard Medium Condensed font and then printed onto the images using an old Chandler & Price tabletop Platen press. 

I must say, I really enjoy playing with ink colors!

I have been trying to give myself more time to write lately and really work through the text for this project. It is a hard part. I'm always a bit uncertain about sharing what I write, but I know it belongs with some of these pieces. 

I keep pushing forward with this. We are almost to the 2 month point, which kind of scares me! But I am trying to keep an even pace.

Next up, more framing!!

Until next time,