Jes Lee

New things

New this year, my first tattoo! This is inspired by my Mamiya C330, the first medium format camera I bought in college, the first medium format camera I photographed with, and one that I still use today. I have thought about this tattoo for a very long time…and I am thrilled with how it turned out!

3 2 1

*tattoo by Poohki at Evolution Tattoo. I am not getting any sort of compensation for posting about this here….I’m just super excited about my new tattoo!

Get to it











Yesterday felt like a giant roller coaster ride.

I was awake quite early to head to the library for my volunteer shift.  2014-01-21 09.08.58

It felt so great being back, seeing the broad range of books that come through the preservation department.

2014-01-21 09.09.18

I got quite far on the books I am working on re-binding and re-covering. They will be so lovely when they are all done! I have a wonderful supervisor at the library, and we spent three hours chatting about books and photography and cameras.

Later in the day, I received a rejection email about a job I had been really hoping would work out. That news, I admit, led to a pity-party-for-one. Of course John took me out for dinner and a beer at my favorite pub, and things looked up for a bit.

At the end of an emotionally exhausting day, I began chiding myself, that I have had all this time at home to work on my artwork, and yet I have been hardly making anything. After recently talking to another dear artist friend who had a similar experience (finding herself without a day job for a while, not making any new work during that time off, and now longing for that free time again to make more art) I was determined that would not be my experience. I started today determined to create something….anything.

Fueled by one more cup of coffee than normal (yes, I actually made myself a cup of coffee in my automatic coffee maker just to be able to function and brew my normal French Press pot of coffee this morning…) I was off to a great start today. After finishing three photo jobs, uploading loads of photo work for MCBA, I figured it was time to get off the couch and be creative.

While eating a quick lunch, I began organizing the folders on my laptop’s desktop. You know when you have so many icons on the desktop that creating a new one just layers that new icon on top of an old one, but you don’t realize it, and soon you have a stack of icons that is at least ten icons high? That had happened some time, and about 20 new folders ago. As I was organizing, I created a folder of film scans that needed to be cropped and processed and posted on Flickr and my blog….and that folder was full! What I realized then that I have done during my time here is not giving myself enough credit. No, I have not created a new book, or a new photo box, or finished all of those applications for solo shows I have put off. But I have taken photos. I have taken a lot of photos…a lot more than I was taking last year at this time. And that is creating something. No, I haven’t printed any yet, but I did just last week get my new darkroom set up so I can print some now. And I did write out a statement and description for a new photo box project I would like to create. And that is something too.

2014-01-19 16.26.14-1

2014-01-19 16.20.35-1


So, instead of kicking myself for not making a new book or a new print or a new photo box or anything else like that yet, I’m going to celebrate the fact that I have gotten back in with my cameras, and my film, and am working at starting to figure me out, and start something new. Healing takes a lot of work and energy, and I have a bit of that to do yet as well. And instead of rambling anymore about all of this, I’m going to head down to my darkroom, and develop the three rolls of film that are waiting for me.

Walks and wanders

My day today:

Found while trying out my 4×5 camera (that I still have some technical issues to work out with)

A make-up beer. . .infused with raspberries!

Plus some fairly major issues with my new-to-me 4×5 camera, but nothing that can’t be fixed. Really, just a technical issue I have to figure out. Also grocery shopping, then a bunny and wine. At times I didn’t think it was that great of a day, but I realize that it was good! Any day spent with my husband, and bunny, and cameras (even if they don’t work like I want!) is a good day!

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,