Jes Lee

Just another day

It has been a full week already, but not in a bad way.

Cory, the guy who runs not only sells awesome cameras (I own one! More photos from that camera coming soon), but he’s also a bit of a twitter celebrity in the instant film community, and gives us all sorts of advice on fixing broken Polaroid cameras. He pointed me to a website with instructions on how to fix my Sx-70, I showed them to my dad, and together we fixed it! It works perfect now! I’m so excited! Just in time to try out the new film from The Impossible Project!


In other news, I finished the photos from Kathryn Kysar’s book launch party (

After a full studio day, we headed over to MCBA  – there were quite a few events going on, including a book arts trunk show, a book launch reception, and a few members of the Co-op showing off what they were working on. I love talking with the artists there. They have the ability to gently kick your butt when you are slacking and they know you need it, they are willing to talk about what they do, and how they did it, without acting like you are their competition, and every time I leave there with so many new ideas in my head. I am seriously trying to re-work my sleep schedule a bit so I can be there later in the evening more often…that’s when all the fun happens!

I have started a few little photo projects to get myself working on something creative again. Right now a lot of my time is filled with photo processing, and getting things ready for the art festivals. I need something to keep me creative. 

One project is a little 365 cell-phone-self-portrait project. I stole the idea from Cate Vermeland – I have admired her work since my beginning darkroom days in college. She did a 365 self portrait project in film in the 80s, and was just talking to me recently about starting one using her cell phone camera. I have to try it too. She has kept up on the 365 photo projects for so many years. It is inspiring! And I’m giving it another go. Also, I’m planning on getting my hair cut quite a bit shorter this week, so it will be fun to see the change!

Day 1
Day 2

The next little project I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep it up very well, but I am so excited to have my Sx-70 fixed, that I wanted to try taking one instant photo with it a day. Thankfully, I just got a bunch of new film in the mail from TIP … yes, I may have gone just a smidge overboard, but one of those packs is actually for my best friend who is also playing around with instant photography (which makes me sooooo very happy!!!!!) 

(The camera straps are from Photojojo and of course, every Photojojo order comes packaged with one Rawr! This one fits on top of my laptop.)


So, I have two instant photos to post for today. I really couldn’t pick between the two, and I don’t know yet if this will stick as a 365 project yet or not, but here’s a start.
Play a song

That’s all I have for now.
Until next time,

Japan and other ramblings

Ever since the earthquake in Japan, not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about it, about friends there, about the places we visited. John and I are donating what we can to the Red Cross, and we are preparing a box, which thanks to some great people at both of our workplaces, will be stuffed full of socks to send to the Socks for Japan drive Jason Kelly started. Along with all of that, through April 14th, 50% of the proceeds from anything sold in either one of my shops (Etsy and BigCartel) will be donated to help Japan, along with anything else John and I can send their way. I have to do something to help…Japan has been my favorite place to travel to so far, and the images from that trip has inspired so much artwork. (**There are inklings we may be going back there for a visit in 2013 with some friends! That makes me so happy!**)

Osaka dreams at night – a mashup of a photo taken in downtown Osaka, and a photo taken in Dotombori.

I am continuing to work at Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Last week I took a class taught by Jana Pullman where we learned how to make a Drumleaf binding. I have so many ideas for using this little binding with my photographs. Of course, sitting in class and thinking of how many things I could use a binding like this for, and how many books I want to make, I had a little twinge of guilt, realizing I have said this same thing to myself for many years, but yet as much as I enjoy making books, I haven’t made a lot of them outside of classes. Well, this year, my dears, will be different. I have plans to actually make some of these books that have been floating around in my head. In fact, in August of 2012, I will have a show in the Co-op gallery at MCBA. I have decided that show will include a series of books. You have it here in writing. It will get my butt moving on something new as well! 

Speaking of books, for anyone wondering, I still have plans on making that book of photos from our trip to Japan. A friend has offered to help me with the printing of it……..and yes…..I’m pretty sure I’ll be smart and take her up on it and not just print and bind it all on my own……..though it would look really good in that drumleaf binding I just learned……Anyway! You should check out said friend’s web comic! It is awesome! She will be at the anime convention in Chicago in May this year. John and I are going to see her there, and spend a wonderful anniversary weekend wandering Chicago! We are both looking forward to a little adventure!

In the mean time, the weather is finally warming up a bit (ok, not really, but I’m trying to be positive!) and pretty soon I’ll stop wheezing every time I step outside (again, being positive!) and there will be many adventures with many more friends. I truly am going to try and post more often. Starting in April I am going to start another 365 project (not sure what camera I will use yet….any suggestions are very welcome!) and along with that will come many more regular posts, so not all of them will have to be this long! Thanks for reading!

Until next time, 

Amazing things

The past few weeks have been filled with a lot of work, and a lot of amazingness.

I was accepted as the newest member of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts Co-op! ( What does this mean? It means I am recognized by an amazing establishment as a book artist, and that I have access to their facilities and storage space, and a wonderful community of artists to work with. I am so excited! There will be announcements soon of upcoming shows, and new projects!

I have been working with Kathryn Kysar creating poetry videos for her new book Pretend the World. So far we have two videos complete. They will be show at the book launch party this Saturday night at The Loft Literary Center ( The reception and reading will be from 7-10pm. I hope that if you have a chance to come, that you will. It will be an amazing night!

In the mean time, I leave you with this thought, whatever you are doing, do it with your whole heart, make each day worthwhile. Think of the people in Japan, and if you can, donate something to help. They have it much worse that many of us can imagine right now.

Until next time, I wish you peace, and I hope you enjoy these videos.



I had planned on blogging today. Really I did. It is my mom’s birthday and it seemed like it would be a good day to blog about all of the amazing stuff that has been happening.
Waking up to the news reports and photos of horrible earthquakes and tsunami’s in my favorite country kind of changed things. It makes all the bad stuff seem so insignificant, and the good stuff seem even more amazing and so very fragile all at the same time.
March has been an up and down month already. Many birthdays (happy birthday mom and dad and Jeanne!), cool art things, weird life things, sad anniversaries, and unexpected deaths. Makes me wonder what the rest of the month might have in store.
So, for now, I’m going to ponder this month, this day especially, and watch the snow that keeps changing from sleet to snow and back again (I’m still not completely sick of the snow! Really! I know everyone else is, so I’m mostly just keeping that to myself). There will be more posted soon, I promise.
Until next time,

*sending love and prayers to Japan*