Jes Lee

A list of sorts

Things I have learned:

  1. I am enjoying listening to the audio book ‘The Art of Asking’ by Amanda Palmer much more than I ever thought I would. I have enjoyed her music for a long time, gone to her concerts when I could, and followed along on Twitter and everything else. For many insignificant reasons, I stopped following not very long ago. This book came through a list of suggested audio books available through my library’s website, and I decided to give it a try. It has been amazing to listen to, and today, I find myself following her again on social media.
  2. Meditation is really good for me. It has taught me a lot about myself already. I do very well with guided meditation in my yoga classes, but I am working on meditating alone as well.
  3. I love traveling.
  4. The act of traveling, being sick, going back to work without feeling 100%, and still trying to be creative, makes me more of an introvert than I usually am. Which is why I do not have more photos from our last amazing trip up here yet…but they will be coming soon.
  5. My favorite thing currently is when John and I have both gotten sucked into really good books, and go to bed a little earlier on the weekends just so we can lay in bed together and read.
  6. I successfully developed three rolls of slide film at home and did not blow anything up and I’m pretty sure I could try this again with the same results.
  7. John and I have started planning a pretty major house project together and it has become this wonderful blend of his ideas and my ideas and we are both excited to start it. We have done projects together in the past, but this somehow feels like the most collaborative one yet. I have learned a lot already from it, and I am paying close attention, knowing I will learn so much more by the time it is done.

It will be a busy week, filled with a few art related things happening, as well as work and home things. I will have much more to blog about next week!

My new photo-a-day project is still happening – I have not missed a day yet! I will share photos from that soon. I just developed the first roll of film from it today (see list item #6)!

I will leave you with this:

black and white 11 small

Instant change






It has been quite awhile since John and I hiked the ice caves along the south shore of Lake Superior. Almost two months, to the day in fact. Though in my mind it seems like just a couple of weekends ago.

february 15th007 small

This was our first adventure of 2014. I know it is far from being our last.

february 15th009 small

Seeing what nature can do and create is quite humbling at times. Realizing how fast she can change the landscape is even more so. Walking out on a frozen lake to see these ice caves itself is amazing, and a bit scary…I have never been fond of trusting an ice-covered lake. Knowing that a strong wind can change how the icicles hang, how the ice sheets cover the water on the walk out to the cliffs, is all a bit mind-boggling.

february 15th012 small

I could go into all the inspirational stuff about how if you don’t let go of your fears you could miss something great, about how important it is to have adventures, about how things can change so fast, blah blah blah. If you know where to look, you will find meaning like that every day. What I find I need more often, is a particular event that not only reminds me, but makes me listen. The hike to the ice caves is that event for me.

There are more photos from that hike on my Flickr page. You can click this link to get there, or click on one of the photos above.

There is a lot coming up in May for Jes Lee Studios! Most of the events and dates are now up on my ‘Announcement’ page. There are many more to come that I don’t have all the details on yet, so please check back there again soon!

I have still been going with my film 365 project. Someday soon I’ll post all the photos….and get caught up on developing the film. In the mean time, it has been amazing having my cameras with me constantly.



Film 365 – Day 15: January 5, 2014

I really wish this photo was not so blurry….

january 5 small


But that is what I get for trying to take a photo in a dark theater, with only 400 speed film (I could have pushed it!!) while people were walking back and forth past me (hello vibrations!) with no tripod…

(I really have learned!)

Oh well.

We took my parents on our annual outing to see the British Arrow Awards at the Walker Art Center. It was so cold out that day, I did not want to bring my Hasselblad out, so this was taken with my 35mm Nikon FG-20. My father-in-law gave me that camera years ago (he used it for many years before) and I really enjoy it (though I do hate scanning 35mm negatives).

Ilford 400 film developed in Ilfosol 3.

f2.8 1/30 shutter speed (might have been 1/15).


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.