Jes Lee

New things and the prairie

I have been working hard lately. There are a lot of big projects coming up, all of them quite fun, though, as usual, it does mean some things get neglected in the proces.

Today, I actually took a bit of time off from working on projects for other people, and started a new compilation for a project I am working on for myself. I don’t know if it is finished yet, or how this will all pan out, but It is a start on a new journey. 


Prairie restoration site, Theological Seminary, New Brighton, Minnesota 

When my friend first asked me to work on videos for her poems, I found many poems that were full of imagery from the prairie. Knowing I would need some images for that, I talked to my uncle who happens to work for the DNR. He pointed me to a number of prarie restoration projects that are going on not far from the cities. One of them was practically in my back yard. The more I talked to him, the more I became fascinated with these places. Almost a perfect mix of analog, land, growth, returning places to what they had naturally been, mixed with digital, tracking growth, predators, controlled burning, life cycles…
It has been taking over my mind lately. I see my Digital Dreams of Life series stretching towards this. Everything needs a new direction sometimes. I think this is where I’m going.

In the mean time – Yes! Videos! My friend Kathryn Kysar will have a new book of poems being released March 19th. We are working together to create videos of her poetry, which will be posted on the website for the book, as well as here. It is an exciting project. Video is can be an unforgiving, frustrating medium, but it can be beautiful when layered and finessed just right. It is taking me awhile to catch on, but I keep working. In the mean time, there are some still images that pertain to this project in this gallery. Mostly portraits right now, I will be posting some of the still images I am using in the videos.

I am also starting a little prairie gallery just for all of the prairie images I’m working with. 

It has been a busy winter. Around here, that seems like a good thing. It doesn’t leave for much time to relax, but it does leave a lot less time to mope around with the winter blues. Just this last week, I was at a kareoke bar for the first time ever, went to visit friends at their studios during First Thursday, saw a screening of some of Jay Rosenblatt’s films at the Walker, and checked out a couple of great local date night places. The date night time did a lot to get me out of my winter funk, and all of the great artwork I have seen at the galleries and at the studios of my friends lately has done a lot to inspire me and get me working again. We all need pick-me-ups like that sometimes.

While I wish that these days of “so freezing cold you don’t dare take a camera outside for fear it will freeze to your face” would be over, today I am so grateful for the sunshine!

Until next time,