Jes Lee

Catching up with my inspiration

I had my eyes checked this morning, and I’m happy to report that my prescription hasn’t changed since about 2008. All I need to do now is look for a pair of prescription sunglasses and I’ll be on my way, thank you very much. And thanks to the assistants at the clinic today, my glasses are actually clean. Something I forget constantly to do. Seriously, some days I think I need a keeper!

I have been continuing to print pages for books for my show, researching geo locations of places I have been (which only makes me want to go more places) and trying to edit everything down to a semi reasonable amount of work.

This week I have also managed to sell a camera, and get an application for a very cool program turned in on time.

In between all of that, I finished reading a biography – Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits. I honestly started the book quite some time ago, but had to put it down for awhile. It is a very intense book, and very descriptive of what was going on in the world while she was a live and photographing. It is of couse, quite intense, like I think any artist biography is. But, it is very inspiring as well. She worked hard and she gave up a lot to do the work that she believed was important. She never stopped learning, and never stopped trying to make her work better, never gave up. Never gave up working really. When she wasn’t physically able to work, she was still planning, still seeing. Because of this, she wasn’t always maybe the easiest person to be around, but she did what she did because she was drawn to that life. I understand that feeling.

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Super woman

Well here we are at Monday.

This weekend I felt a bit like I was playing at being Super Woman or something. I accomplished a lot, and had quite a bit of fun, but I am dragging today!

To start with, Thursday last week I photographed two gallery shows, and brought home more items from MCBA to photograph in my light box. I love my photo job at MCBA! Though I admit, this week the photos I have to process are stacking up on my computer! On the plus side, I am really enjoying my new camera, and am quite close to selling my old camera equipment.

Friday, I worked a double shift at my day job, ran a few errands in between, then headed back to MCBA to photograph an event. John and I met up with a couple of friends after that. I crashed when we got home.

Saturday we were up early to clean for a showing at our condo, then off to learn how to play Mahjong with a couple John knew from a previous job. We had a ton of fun, and I am now obsessed with the game and determined to teach more friends to play!

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Saturday night I buckled down and finally got a draft written for a residency application that is due by the end of this week. John was very sweet and read it over for me. I will be working on the final edits tonight, and turning it in tomorrow. I am excited and so very nervous all at the same time!

Sunday was a long working-the-day-job day, but we did close a bit early due to the snow. Did I mention there was snow??!!

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(I was playing around with camera apps on my phone while I was at work yesterday. The snow was so pretty!!)

It was nice to be home a bit early. We stayed up way too late watching Downton Abbey and The West Wing. I did get a lot of book page layouts done while we were doing that, and I am now ready to print the rest of the book pages for this series. This will help immensely this week – I have an appointment to see the eye doctor on Thursday morning, and I know I won’t be able to focus on any fine-detail photo work for awhile after that…but I can print!

Of course the thought of going to the eye doctor brings up all sorts of things for me to worry about such as wondering how much my prescription sunglasses will cost this time, and my increasing self-consciousness about wearing glasses and all sorts of things like that, but hey! One day at a time here.

Today is Monday, there is work to be done, and an application to finish, a blanket of fresh snow on the ground, and no time to worry about things I can’t change today!

On cameras and lenses and working

Last Thursday was amazing. I now actually have a grasp on what I am creating for this show, how everything will be placed, hung up, and displayed. It is an amazing feeling to have those plans and to know where this show is going and a bit about how it will look. I wish I could explain all that to you…I wish you could see what is in my mind right now…I think it will be cool!

Over the weekend I received the new camera and lens I had ordered. This is a switch! My new camera is not a Canon, a brand I have made photos with for 14 years. My new camera is a Sony.

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So why the switch? Essentially, I really like the technology Sony is offering and the price they are offering it at. Many friends of mine (ok, two in particular) keep saying that photography is changing. I believe them, and not just because of the fact they have taught college level photography for a long time but because it is true, to a point. Photography will always be about the images and what they tell no matter if the photo is made digitally, or with film or any combination thereof. But there is a huge technology aspect that is changing it. In the digital world, the brands that have made cameras the longest are not necessarily the strongest anymore. It is a different ball game. It will be interesting to see where this all goes, and I hope to talk about it a bit more here in the future. In the mean time, back to this little camera. One other reason that made me switch is that Sony is paired with Carl Zeiss and has a series of Carl Zeiss lenses. Those of you who know me and know my work know that I have made photos with a Hasselblad for a long time now (12 years to be exact) and Carl Zeiss is known for making Hasselblad’s lenses. They are amazing, top notch….they make awesome glass period. I trust these lenses. They aren’t cheap, and I honestly don’t know that I will afford more than one main one for quite awhile, but I do know they will be worth the money I pay for them, without searching through forums and reviews online. And that is what pushed me over the edge to get this.

Now, due to unfortunately cold weather, and my Mr. FN being sick, I haven’t made it out to play with this camera much. But, I did make it out at dusk last night for a short walk to see what I could do. It will take some getting used to! But I am especially happy with this one.

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Now I’m off to write and create and do all the things I need to be doing today. Today I am printing out a preliminary set of pages for another set of books to be displayed with this show. This set of pages will help me figure out how to make the letterpress work that will go with them possible. I will also hopefully start working on a set of new, tiny images, and the letterpress layers that may go with them.

Until next time!

Caution: brain working

It is another studio day here today, and my brain has been working at high speed since early this morning. The ideas are coming together for my upcoming show at MCBA, and I am trying to run with it while they are there!

*head down, back to work*

For now, one more instant photo from last weekend’s drive:

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Another studio day and new attitudes

Yes, I have another studio day today, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. After realizing that my upcoming show carries a bit more pressure with it (good pressure really!), I need to focus this new found nervous energy and get started! I honestly planned a much longer blog post for today, but never mind. That will have to wait! On to my studio!

First though, a bit about the weekend:

Friday during a short photo walk I found that my Sx-70 was on the fritz. Not knowing if it was just a few bad film packs, or the camera itself, I took out my little Sx70 One Step box cam for the weekend to test the film packs again. I headed out with Mr. FN to North Branch to find new jeans at the outlet mall, and a few deserted country roads to drive on. There were many stops for photo opportunities! Happily, all of the film packs worked, and upon arriving home and fiddling with my beloved folding Sx-70 a bit more, it started working. In fact, it now works better than it has since before I dropped it in Hawai’i! Amazing!

sx70 1 step007One of the many photos from our drive. I love being out in the middle of no where, out side of the city, and seeing these power lines run through the landscape and disappear into the distance. I can’t explain it, but I love this. I have a few more photos like this, but they will be posted later.

Also, ‘List it Tuesday’ is back! Check out Artsyville’s blog and participate! My list will be up later this week – promise :)

And if you have found my little blog from Lynn’s wonderful post, welcome! I am excited that I helped inspire her to try a 365 project! You can find me on Flickr as well – I’m Jes Lee Photos. And my latest 365 project is on Flickr as well right here!

And with that, I am off! Until next time!


The view from here

It has been quite awhile since I have had a home studio day.

I’m already working on printing more books (still trying to finish those editions!), applications that are due soon, and hopefully making some new artwork.

2013 is already different than I hoped it would be. But, I’m not giving up on it yet. It is still going to be happier and brighter than 2012!

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My view today.

2013 (all shiny and new)

2012 was not the easiest. But I’m not going to dwell on that. Needless to say, I am happy to remember the positive bits of 2012, and move on to 2013, which is still very new and shiny.


I found that quote in a friend’s Instagram feed and added it to my journal. This is actually the last entry in my sweet little Russian doll journal. I’m starting a new journal tomorrow. This new journal is one that I made…not as cute, but it will be pretty cool I think.


I don’t always make resolutions. But, there were a few important things on my mind this year that I felt needed to be put in writing for myself. So here goes:

• journal and practice writing more often. I really want to be in the habit of writing every day, but writing a couple of times a week would be a great start. I write a lot that goes with my art work, and I need more time and practice for that.

• finish the two leather journals I’m working on (done as of today!!) and practice making more. (This year will have a lot of practicing in it.)

• make progress on my Advanced Certificate in book arts. Which means giving myself the time to takes class or two.

• to not beat myself up so often. To be kinder to myself and others. To not blame myself for everything. To be more accepting that things aren’t perfect and that’s OK.

• to forgive all of the crummy parts of 2012 and welcome 2013! (I’m off to a good start so far!)

• to go to more movies and plays, to allow myself more fun time and not work constantly.

• to let my show in the bindery gallery be bold and different and to not be scared about that!

Happy 2013! May it be awesome!