Archive for 'from jess’s desk'

I’ve heard photographers often describe an experience where they feel so disappointed with a set of scans and later learn to love them a week or two later. It didn’t really make sense until now.

Four months later? I’ll take it. I really struggled to shoot at this workshop and wasn’t sure what to work on while I was there. I remember downloading my scans and just tossing them aside for later. But these ones emerged yesterday and they just work.

I’m still very much in retreat mode right now and focusing on writing. I’ve got sessions about once a month which is perfect as I figure everything out. Until then…
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February 24, 2017


Dear readers,

My husband works at a university and recently took a leave of absence to take a contract with a local company. I was the one who nudged him to go that route for a year and I’m finding myself needing to take my own advice.

It’s sabbatical time.

We are moving to a new little house in town. My kids are looking at starting school this year or next. I’m in a great place in so many ways and I’m needing to take some time of to rejuvenate and have a change in scenery. In March, I have a month long mentorship happening followed up by a workshop in NYC.

I’m not sure what this sabbatical looks like but I know one thing: it need not include blogging, social mediaing, and constant email. I’ve got a few sessions scheduled already and I’ll most definitely show up for those but will be limiting what other sessions I take on for a bit.

I’ll be back soon enough, but for now, I’m going to hit the giant pause button and do what needs to be done. Can’t wait to see what comes of this.

Don’t be afraid to take a break when you need one.


February 06, 2017

It’s February and I don’t even have a 2017 folder on my computer for images this year.

I *should* feel embarrassed but I’m not playing that game. We all need a break to rest and do other creative things. Lately, that’s been reading anything other than the news.

Given the current climate, I’m having to brush up on my self care skills and focus on boundaries because outrage exhaustion is a real thing. For the next two weeks, I’ve got the rest of my countdown happening on Facebook and Instagram.

And in the meantime, if you are staying off the internet, try these podcasts or my new favorite, Reply All.

dear sugarjess


I don’t mean to beat this like a dead horse, but every time I print my annual photo book, I feel like screaming at you:


Your phone snapshots are rotting on a hard drive somewhere, and that’s if you don’t accidentally lose them when your dog tries to flush your phone. Not that that happened to me. (Came close once but then my foolproof back up saved me.)

I use Artifact Uprising, but any photo printer under the sun will do. See how nice and organized this looks?


Here’s our 2016 cover and man it represents our normal little days: library, wrestling, grocery store, haircuts, mall trips, sprinklers, swim lessons, parks, lakes, bedtime, and of course, tax preparation! About 700 other photos join these in the book.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Print them, folks. You won’t regret it! And someone give me a sticker for keeping all my political views to myself. As if we need more of that.


So listen.

I’m not the only one who is glad that the slate has been cleaned and we have another year to look forward to. I’ve been feeling pretty down in the dumps lately about everything that is wrong and looking back through all of my images from 2016?

It helped. I picked out my favorite 40. They aren’t the best 40, but each of them is a tiny glimmer of hope.