Jes Lee

Oodles of photos and a week that was a blur


I have been slacking a bit this week with posting. I have a few good excuses. For one, it was my birthday on Monday, and I have, as usual, been celebrating all week. Two, it was hot, and parts of my brain have melted…especially the part interested in typing coherently. Three, I have been spending a lot of extra time in the pool, and playing games in the AC with Mr. FN. That was much needed.

Tonight, the temperature dropped 30 degrees, the AC is finally turned off, the windows are open, the resident princess bunny is happily hopping around the living room, and I am finally catching up a bit on the week. The end of this post contains the latest photos from ‘The 30 Project‘.

A little recap:

Wednesday was the 4th of July. After a short and hot shopping trip with my Bethie, we spent the rest of the day alternating between being in the AC, being in the pool, and eating ice cream. We did not make it out to see fireworks this year, but you know what, there will be other out door festivals with fireworks that aren’t on melt-your-face-off-hot days. I will go to those and take photos of fireworks for a semi-secret project. It will work.

Thursday I spent much of the day processing and uploading photos for MCBA. I have learned a lot about photographing with light boxes and light tables…things that you can only learn through experience. Honestly, I am so very grateful that MCBA has let me work on their photos and learn these things. They have always been patient, and let me figure out what I need to do to make the images they need.

I also had a chance on Thursday to talk to a very dear artist friend about life in general, and bunnies, and the state of photography in relation to the Minnesota State Arts Board grant funding….and has me thinking about making a last ditch effort to apply for a grant again….the deadline is next week….we’ll see how this goes.

Today I spent much of the day working, and then running around getting food and stuff for a family-ish pool party tomorrow night. The party will be a blast! The prep work has me feeling a bit wiped out. Of course going with Mr. FN to check on the pool and have a little swim helped a lot tonight. Tomorrow will be fun. I have no worries about that.

I did spend a bit of time tonight finding a few new books to read…two of which are coming from England… When I start to get a bit down/tired/overwhelmed I often find a smidge of retail therapy helps. Lately, books have been doing the trick. Of course, most of them are books that Mr. FN would read as well, so he never really has a problem with it.

On to the photos: I have been keeping up with this project quite well so far!

I’m still working with the same kind of film I started this project with, which is expired Polaroid Silk 125 peel apart film for the instant photo, and Kodak TriX 400 black and white film for the film photo (to come soon!). All photos are taken with my Hasselblad 501c/m.

July 4, 2012

The pool (July 4th, 2012)

July 4, 2012

July 4th journal page

July 5, 2012

Swimming gear drying. July 5th, 2012

July 5, 2012

Journal page, July 5th, 2012

July 6, 2012

Trying to photograph the leaves in the storm wind. July 6th, 2012

July 6, 2012

Journal page, July 6th, 2012


It has been a long week already. Not really in a bad way. There has been planning and parties and days at the beach with my bestie which have been so great! But today I am tired. I try not to say much about the heat or the weather. I know I have it pretty good – I have power and AC at home, I do a lot of work in art centers that have AC, my studio is quite cold being in the basement of a house with AC, and after years of working in a restaurant kitchen I am pretty heat tolerant. But I will admit that the heat is not helping me feel my best and have tons of energy now.

I did manage to get a bit of work done today for MCBA. We had our monthly co-op meeting, and my sweet co-op friends brought cup cakes and cookies to the meeting for my birthday! I do adore those people.

I had a moment of panic this morning. I have known for a long time what would be my first ‘30 Project‘ post. But today is day two, and I realized I had no idea what my photo would be of. After a second cup of coffee I managed to calm myself down, and remind myself that this is what the project is about. I don’t have every day planned out and know right away what I am going to photograph. This project is not meant to be planned. It is meant to be spontaneous, with a deliberate finished look (meaning how I put the photos in my journal). So I packed my camera in my bag, and brought it with me. Sometime during picking raspberries at my parent’s house I knew what today’s photo needed to be.

(Note: Yes, I realize that I mis-spelled ‘raspberry’ in my journal. That will be fixed when the page has been finished with the addition of the last print. I still wish paper journals had spell check not because I am lazy, but because my spelling is far from perfect. Also, that is purple ink on the border of my instant photo. My fountain pen barfed tonight. I am eternally grateful that my mom taught me that rubbing alcohol gets ink off of things.)


July 3, 2012

Raspberries!! Taken with a Hasselblad 501c/m using a Polaroid back and expired Polaroid Silk 125 peel apart film.

July 3, 2012

Journal page July 3rd.

The 30 project – an introduction

Today at 10:32 am Central Time I turned 30 years old. No big deal, right? Aside from all of the cake and celebrating with friends and family and the awesome annual excuse to get new camera equipment (that is what a Birthday is for right??). I have many many dear friends who have turned 30 this year as well (including Mr. FN earlier this year) and it has been interesting watching all of the different reactions to this milestone. It got me to thinking and wondering how I see it. I definitely view it as marking another year on this earth surrounded by all of the amazing people I am with and doing the things I love, but why? And what will this year bring that others haven’t? Anything different?

Somewhere I have gotten a little enamored with how people document things, places, events, their lives, and I decided I am going to document 30….well, 30 for me anyway! 30 will be documented with my Hasselblad 501c/m, possibly my most loved camera. One moment of each day will be documented with an instant image, and a film image. I will of course be able to post the instant images right away. The film images will be posted later as I get the rolls of film developed. I will also be posting the journal pages that I am keeping all of the images organized in. The page scans will be updated as I complete them with the film prints.

I am excited! Not only will this be a year of working very very closely with my Hasselblad, but this is something new that I haven’t tried before. I have been in the midst of a cell phone photo 365 project, but that feels different than this. I’m very excited to see where it goes.

And now it is time for me to get off of the computer and go enjoy my day! But first, my image and journal page from today: a self portrait.

Instant photo of the day – me!

Journal page – July 2nd, 2012


It is Sunday night, and I feel like I have already started a new week. The past handful of days have been tough-ish to say the least. But tonight, after a very long day at work, I had a date with my husband that included a swimming pool, and Chipotle, and that helped more than anything else has this week.

I am not going to get into the details of this past week. It is over and done. There are a few good points that I will dwell on here…

On Friday, after discovering that the Kathe Kollwitz exhibit was ending this weekend, my mom convinced me (it didn’t take much) to drop the other plans I had for my time between shifts, and we went to the museum. I am so glad we did. First, there are so many museums around here that going to is a meditative, inspiring, calming experience for me. The Weisman is one of them. (It always brings me back to being in college and going there for class or just to escape between classes. I love seeing how they have remodeled. It is cool to see them have more space to display some of their permanent collection pieces.) Kathe Kollowitz was one of those artists I was inexplicably drawn to and came across frequently in my studies. To have the chance to actually see her work in person is quite amazing. There is a huge difference between seeing a piece of art in person and seeing it in a book.

The other completely amazing exhibit that is there now is Tenuous, Though Real and contains artwork from 33 Minnesota artists, including four pieces from my friend and mentor Laura Migliorino, and Gary Hallman, one of my professors from the U, and so many others, some I have met in person, and some I never realized were from Mn. It was amazing! And while I will go to the art museum or an art gallery with anyone who wants to go (and even a few who weren’t really all that willing) it is fun to take my mom – we have some interesting discussions about the pieces.

My mom found a couple of pottery books in the gift shop to bring back to my dad. Talking about pottery with my dad is always fun. We have a couple of art festivals coming up that we are getting ready for, so we spent quite a bit of time this weekend chatting about the logistics of kiln firings and stuff to get ready for the next show. (I am also hoping to have a new online shop open for us soon!)

Saturday I had a chance to hang out with Mr. FN. While not all of our plans happened quite like we wanted, he did have time to take me to see his new office space. I must say I am quite impressed with where he works now! He also took me out for a sandwich from Surdyk’s – his favorite lunch spot. We had a little picnic outside and it was quite lovely!

Today was quite rough at times. But it ended with Mr. FN and I cooling off in my aunt’s swimming pool and our usual Sunday night Chipotle dinner. It was a small “date”, but it was what we both needed. My granny used to say that when you had a lot of things piling up on your mind, and a lot of things bothering your heart, or any baggage you needed to get rid of, that you should drive past the cemetery and bury it. Let it go. I have often heard her in my head saying that, especially when I know I need to let go of something, or just get over an awful week in general. I have tried it in the past, with a mild amount of success. But what I found tonight works better is drowning it. Jumping in a pool, and feeling yourself be weightless again. The water is cool, and for that first bit you can’t concentrate on anything else except breathing. That is where I can get rid of things and just let go. I am so grateful to have had a chance to do that tonight.

In an hour a new week will start, though I feel like it already started a couple of hours ago in that pool.

John diving in. Taken with a Pentax digital underwater camera, that has since died. I only have underwater film cameras now. This is not a hardship, but something I quite look forward to for this summer.