Jes Lee

About me

You can find me on Instagram at:

Or send me a message at

I am a photographer focusing on images of man-made development within the landscape. I look at a wide range of landscapes from remote nature, to urban areas, and search out traces of human residue. The marks left behind may be subtle and intimate or large, leaving a profound impact on the land. The traces evoke memory and history leaving the viewer to wonder and explore their own past. The layering of imagery is an is an essential component in my work, expressing the passage of time, and the peeling back of man made development, finding the bits of stories behind the layers. The images illustrate how time overlaps, how our stories intertwine, and how we are all connected. Each image, each layer, is a photograph I have taken myself, during walks through my neighborhood, and trips to other countries or states. Most often I photograph using medium format cameras and film. I love their physical presence, their weight, and the tactile qualities of the film. Much like what I am drawn to document with my photography, I strive to show my personal touch in everything I create. I work to create images that are layered with meaning and not sterile.

My most recent work is created using the process Photopolymer Photogravure. The photographic images are created digitally from photos I have taken using medium format film, and then are printed onto a transparent film, which is then used to expose the image onto a photopolymer plate. The image is then etched into the plate, and the plate surface hardened. The plate is inked, wiped, and used to print the image using an etching press. I print two or more colors simultaneously on one plate. This allows the colors to blend together in unique ways where the colors overlap. This process lends it self to how I create my artwork, requiring layers, and blending photography and printmaking, my two interests. Photogravure is a historic process, hands on and tactile. These are the very elements at the core of my imagery, and a natural extension of my photography practice.

This is how I see myself continuing to work, honing my skills in this medium, and pushing the boundaries of what I can create with it, bringing a historic medium into a modern practice. Because the images are created digitally, I have the power to manipulate them as little or as much as I want to emphasize the story I see with my camera. I can bring two far away places together, two different years, or months, or days into the same image. Once the image is created, the printing process is very hands on, very analog, far removed from the digital place it was first created.Continuing with this medium, I want to work to create prints that are a size and format to be worked into a hardbound book. The book format is something I have worked with in the past, but not with this medium. I feel this will allow me to further push the narrative elements in this body of work.

I graduated in 2003 from the University of Minnesota with my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts. I have studied at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts since 2006 to focus more on combining printmaking and book making with my photography. This is an ongoing exploration for me. I have exhibited in many venues around Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

If you are looking for my old blog posts, you can find them here.