Jes Lee

Darkroom days are the best days

2 rolls of black and white film developed

3 rolls of C41 film developed

25 proof sheets printed

#stampburners items printed (haven’t been mailed yet, but it is early!)

1 long walk taken with a friend and her puppy

Lego Movie watched with John

I definitely kicked butt on my Made Here Mn project to-do list today!

Here’s to hoping the rest of the week is as productive!

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Also finished journal page 1/100 for the #100DaysProject!

Printing and photo walks

One of the things I have planned for the Made Here exhibit is a new compilation image of things photographed close to where my installation would be. Now that I have a location where my work will be displayed, I needed to get started on creating that new piece.

I had been planning a trip out to the site on Sunday for a while. It would be a quiet day, with not too many things planned. The weather was supposed to be decent, and I figured John and I could get out for a walk, and stop for a drink at some near-by place when I was done.

Of course, I didn’t expect myself to be mostly recovered from being sick, but John to be in the middle of a bad cold. He was understandably not up for going on a long walk around the city with me. So, after much hesitation, I went by myself.

You see, I have always enjoyed photo walks with friends. This is something we would do in photo class…or at least we would always have our cameras with us, ready to turn anything into a photo walk. My friend Julie would always be up for walking around the cities at night while I took pictures, usually leading to crazy adventures, and plenty of stories we still laugh about to this day.

Of course, friends get different jobs, and move away, have kids, and many things change, but I have always seemed to have one friend or another that would go with…until recently.

So, I have gone out more often by myself. I always hesitate at first, my brain telling me I hate going out alone, that there will be too many weird people, that they will hate me for whatever reason…hello inner-critic. But I eventually go anyway.

Today, was one of those days. With my brain telling me not to leave, I left John home to rest, grabbed my headphones and camera, and went to work on this project.

I came home happy, relaxed, and with 5 rolls of film from my walk that went for almost 2 hours. I think it is finally time to stop believing my inner-critic, and start admitting that I am perfectly happy to go out by myself when that is the best option.

5 rolls of film to develop Monday, and see how they might work into a new image for this.

After I got back home, I did some more work on one of the other images. I have re-scanned negatives, making the file size big enough to print 4ft square at 300dpi…and you know what? I actually like the bit I printed from the original image, enlarged past what it should be for printing resolution. I need to talk with a few people who know more about printing things large than I do…but perhaps this means a bit less busy work for me.

It was so amazing, seeing where my work will be installed! I still can’t believe I have this opportunity!

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Steady on

First, I want to thank everyone that has congratulated me on my latest project! All of the kind words really, really mean a ton to me.

I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that I am a bit overwhelmed thinking of everything that is coming up, and needs to be done. But it will all happen. I have learned to have faith in that, and keep going one bit at a time.

Today was supposed to be a busy day filled with work, followed by an evening with friends. But, due to me still not being back to feeling 100% after the upper respiratory crap I have had the last couple of weeks, and John starting to not feel great again, we are slowing down. Something I probably need more than I care to admit.

So, after work today, I will go home, and curl up on the couch with John, watch a few movies, and work on the mechanical processes of getting images ready for this project. Thanks to a new hard drive in my little laptop, working on those things from the couch is possible!

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Daily things

April is the month of the ‘daily’ exercises around the art communities I follow on the internet.

I’m going to try to keep up with a few of them, just for fun, and something else to blog about.

To start off with, April is National Poetry Month, and there are quite a few sites offering up poetry writing prompts for people that want to try the challenge of writing one poem a day.

I have tried this challenge before, and I enjoyed it! It is not easy, but it does get me back into the habit of writing daily, something I so easily get out of. Plus, I have a bunch of new journals and markers, so there is really no reason why I shouldn’t be journaling more and writing a poem a day.

So, through April, I will try to post a photo of a poem I wrote in my journal. Some pages will of course be prettier than ours. Some will be just plain pencil or ink. I’m not fussy. Just trying to get myself to get something down on paper each day.


#1 is a little haiku.

More daily projects to come soon!

Now, back to catching up a little more on what has been happening around here.

Spring break trailed off with a lot of fun events.

Saturday I spent the day with a friend…I even got up early for it! (Dear friend, if you are reading this, I’m sorry you learned the hard way I am not a morning person!!) We went to a sheep shearing event at a local park/farm, learned how to spin yarn, and of course bought wool and drop spindles to continue doing so!


I have plans for this….really…it isn’t just another crazy hobby! I did make the grey into a skein of yarn. It is a pretty crappy first attempt! Ha! But I know what I’m doing now. These supplies are not just going to sit unused! I have plans for them.

We also went to the roller derby later that evening, and watched a college friend of mine say her good byes to her team. It was very bitter sweet, but I’m glad we could be there.

Sunday was a laid back day with celebrating the anniversary of our favorite local brew pub where there was, of course, someone playing the bag pipes!


We had our first little backyard bonfire of the season that evening. I’m looking forward to many more of these soon!


Monday I spent my last long day in my studio, finishing up my little book that you have already seen.

Tuesday, I had my hair dyed before heading in to work, and spring break was officially over.


It is amazing how many things can happen in one week. I feel like it was packed full. Ups and downs, yes, but more good than sad. It feels like so long ago already.

The count down to summer break begins!


1/5/15 – Sea Wall

From my journal:

Tomorrow morning we start a long journey home. Today, our last full day on this little island, we spent the hours walking by the ocean wall, we ate green tea KitKats, grocery shopped, read while sitting out on the patio, ate lunch at a chicken and waffle restaurant, had more of Julie’s awesome Yakisoba for dinner, and enjoyed our last day of hanging out here. Everything is packed already. It is only a matter of time before we are back.

To the friends that took such good care of us, thank you a million times over!

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Film photos from our last day:

1/4/15 – Kokusai

From my journal:

Today we walked around Kokusai – downtown Okinawa. There were street vendors, Okinawan doughnuts, fresh brown sugar being chipped off a large block, fresh pineapple on a stick, traditional places to eat, sweet beans and mochi, the fish market, crowds, malls, sales, lots of sunshine, the kids being happy, the craziness of Japanese streets and markets, Hello Kitty stuff everywhere…it was so much fun! We walked until our legs and feet ached. We did a lot of shopping, and I took a lot of photos again.

Today was great. This whole trip has been amazing, from the roller slides, to the food, and all the fun stuff we did in between. The best part is experiencing all of this with friends who love exploring and trying new things as well as we do. I can’t wait to come back and visit them again!

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Film photos:

1/3/15 – Koza Music Town

From my journal:

Today John and I went out to do a little exploring on our own of Okinawa City and Koza Music Town. There were a few places open, though many were still closed for the New Year holiday.

We did find an arcade where we played Mario Kart (so much fun!) and a small punk record and clothing shop. We had a good time and were quite worn out after from all the walking! I took a lot of photos of the buildings and empty streets. There is such a mix of new and run-down here. I remember noticing that when we were in Japan before on the main island, but I feel like it is more prominent here. It was a beautiful day to be out walking! And more sushi for dinner!

iPhone photos:


Okinawa street…



There was a one-block stretch of buildings that had the craziest wall murals painted all along them!

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Film photos from the day:

1/2/15 – Okinawa World

From my journal:

Today we went with Julie and the girls to Okinawa World. It is quite kitschy, and set up almost Ren-Fest-ish. It is meant to show visitors the many aspects of Okinawa culture while simultaneously draining as much money as possible from you! Ha! I am glad we went though – we had great ice cream (pineapple sorbet for me!), saw giant turtles, a snake exhibit (that I walked through quite quickly!), a huge cave, glass blowers, potters, paper makers, and tried some local craft beer.

We had sushi for dinner at one of the local restaurants – it was amazing!

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1/1/15 – Toguchi beach

From my journal:

Today was the first day that the weather was crummy enough that I didn’t mind spending much of the day inside.

We did spend the  morning out exploring one of the local beaches – Toguchi. It had caves to climb around, and at low tide you could walk out pretty far on the rocks. Even though it was cold and windy, it was still great to be out there.

After lunch, John and I went shopping with Julie. We found a set of pots that I fell in love with, and after some research and realizing they aren’t sold in the US, we bought them. We also did a bit of clothes shopping at UniQlo. I am not ashamed to admit that I am kind-of in love with that store!

We made fried rice for dinner. Eric and Julie have been cooking for us multiple night, and we thought it was definitely time for us to make something!

Back to more adventuring tomorrow!

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Film photos from that day: