Category Archives: Personal Work

Callithump! article

As most of you know, Matt and I have been working on a project called Callithump! It is a magazine of arts and literature distributed through toy capsule vending machines. An issue is distributed across multiple capsules. Each capsule contains an “article,” which might be a poem, a series of photographs, a small sculpture… really any sort of creativity that can fit inside a capsule! (You can read more about it over at www.callithump.org )

Well, the lovely folks over at the UMaine Today Magazine got wind of this machine and what we were doing and asked if they could write an article on Matt for their fall issue!  And it just came out today!  You can read it online here:

http://webwpmu.ume.maine.edu/magazine/past-issues/volume-9-issue-4/extra-curricular/

If you click on the link at the top of the article that says “Slideshow” (or just click here), you’ll be able to see a series of photos I took of the machine and some of the contents of the capsules (and a few of you will recognize your own work there!)  And if any of you wonderful creative types are interested in submitting something for the next issue, we are always looking for more work!  To qualify for the magazine, what ever it is has to fit in a 2 inch capsule.  That’s it!

Welcome to the new website!

Welcome to the new jessleclair.com website!  It’s finally here!  There are still a few minor tweaks to be made and a bit more information to update, but for the most part it is done!  I hope you all enjoy it!  And please let me know if something isn’t working or you find a dead link or whatever!  As I said, still working out some of the bugs!

I’ll update more in the next few days with some of my latest photos!  For now, feel free to head on over to my flickr page and check out some photos from my big trip to Japan this past August!

sacred tree

Photo-A-Day: The Best of Week 10

Another tough week to pick from! More fun with polaroid, some good Callithump! stuff, but in the end, Day 58 had to win out:

Day 68

I’ve loved this whole idea of light painting for a while. Ever since I did the teapot earlier, I’ve been kicking around an idea for a series. Something about the secret life of things. There is an energy in everything, literally (as in those things that require electricity to function) and figuratively. And I started thinking about what that would look like and how that would be expressed. Its still in the early stages as far as ideas go, but its really fun to play around with.

Photo-A-Day: The Best of Week 9

This was a hard week to pick from! I liked each photo for different reasons. But finally, my sentimental side won out and I chose Day 58, February 27th:

Day 58

This is Morgan! I’ve mentioned his mom Laura before on this site. I couldn’t be happier for her and Shane (his dad!) and his big brother Jackson and big sister Abby (two of my favorite people and photographic subjects). He is a mere 6 days old in this photo and destined to be the star of many many more. He’d been sleeping all day when I got there and only opened his eyes for the few photos I managed to get in! As with his siblings, I’m sure his early memories of me are just going to be big flashes of light.

I’ve mentioned before how much I love this job, but I’ll say it again. I LOVE THIS JOB. I get to watch life unfold around me and help keep the record of it. How cool is that?

As always, you can see more of my photos from this and every other week over at my flickr site.

Photo-A-Day: The Best of Week 8 and Save Polaroid

I keep changing my mind about how I’m going to keep track of this whole Photo-A-Day project! I’ve been pretty good about keeping up with posting my images to flickr, but less about the blog! So I think that what I am going to start doing is posting my favorite photo of the week here! All the rest will still be available over at my flickr site!

Okay, so my favorite from this week has to be Day 52:

Day 52

Recently I pulled out one of my old Polaroid cameras and have been playing with the double exposure feature! Not all Polaroid cameras have this feature and in fact most don’t! But Minolta made a camera in 1990 called the Minolta Instant Pro that used Polaroid Spectra film. It’s become highly sought after by artists now because of the degree of control it allows the user to have over the image. The best thing about mine? I got it for free! I found it at the dump in my hometown and picked it up on a whim. In its day it sold for more than $200!

You may have heard that on February 8th of this year, Polaroid announced its plan to cease production on all instant films. I found the news deeply saddening. And I started thinking about what Polaroid film has meant to me. Seems a strange to think of film as meaningful, but Polaroid has always been a part of my life. Gigi (my father’s mother) has had a Polaroid camera since I can remember – quite literally since I was born.

1979 - Jess with Gramps

Every time the family got together, out came the Polaroid. By the end of the visit, there was always a stack of photos on the kitchen counter documenting the entire visit. If we came late to a family event, we always knew that we could find the stack and catch up on anything we may have missed. And always at the end of the visit, we’d gather for a group photo which was always taken at least twice. That way we could take a copy home with us right then.

1981 - Jess with her Godfather Har

One year, Gigi got a new Polaroid camera and gave the old one to my brother. I think I used it as often as he did! Each box of film was a treasure. She sometimes gave them to us for Christmas or our birthdays and we knew that we had to make them last. They were so expensive! $10 for 10 pictures seemed like it may as well have been a million dollars. But it was SO HARD not to just rip through the film as soon as we got it.

1983 - Jess and cousin Becca

Polaroid was to me what digital cameras are to kids today. A way to instantly re-live and review events as they are happening. I taught an after-school art program recently and as a treat one afternoon, brought my polaroid cameras with some old film for the students to work with. I was so excited to share this opportunity to use the film (which is still fairly expensive) with them. And they just looked at me so blankly. I realized it was meaningless to them. Instant film? Why bother? We have digital cameras! Of course, as soon as they played with them a little, the magic of the thing was obvious. And by the end of the afternoon, they all wanted to know where they could rush out and buy one for their very own!

When I graduated from college in 2000, Gigi gave me a small photo album with a silver cover engraved with my name. In it were photos she’d taken of me – mostly polaroids. My entire life so far. It was such a treat – such an amazing gift to have these images. In a moment of extreme generosity (or weakness, I’m not sure which), I’ve decided to share some of them with you. The first ones are posted above, labeled with Gigi’s awesome calligraphy (I can’t even call it handwriting, though it is how she writes all the time!). I have many more, but these are some of my favorites and show the spread of years quite nicely.

Keep in mind some of these images are more soul baring than others, so be nice!! Not all of us had the good sense not to go with fashion trends as they were happening…

1988 - Jess with Crimped Hair

1994 - Jess (with Mom in the background)

1997 - Jess with her Uncles

2000 - Jess with college friends

One last note and then I’ll stop. There is a wonderful website out there called Save Polaroid. These lovely folks are doing their best to convince another company to take up where Polaroid is leaving off and start producing instant film again. They have a great “action pack” with things you can to to help their cause. If you have a second, check them out and see what you can do to help!

Photo a Day: Week 7

Almost caught up again! Yay! Here are the photos from week 7 of my photo a day project. As always, you can click on each photo to go to my flickr site and see a fuller description of each image.

Day 43
Day 43 - The Dinner - 4 of 7

Day 44
Day 44

Day 45
Day 45

Day 46
Day 46

Day 47
Day 47

Day 48
Day 48

Day 49
Day 49

Day 50
Day 50

Photo a Day: Week 6

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m behind again. Sorry! Here are the photos from week 6. I chose the theme of love in honor of Valentines Day! Some are a little more clearly about “love” than others so if you click on each photo it will bring you to my flickr page where I’ve written a fuller description of each image.

Day 36
Day 36

Day 37
Day 37

Day 38
Day 38

Day 39
Day 39

Day 40
Day 40

Day 41
Day 41

Day 42
Day 42

Photo a Day: Week 5

Okay, so now we are more or less caught back up. Here are last weeks photos! The theme for last week was orange (or things that rhyme with orange, which ever came first…). As always, you can click through each photo to get to my flickr page and a fuller description of each one.

Day 29
Day 29

Day 30
Day 30

Day 31 – I think this is my favorite one so far!
Day 31

Day 32
Day 32

Day 33
Day 33

Day 34
Day 34

Day 35
Day 35

Photo a Day: Week 4

As promised, here is week 4 of my photos. This is the week that includes the “Jess gets really sick and almost dies” photos. And in spite of my near death experience, I still managed to take a photo every day. Am I dedicated or what? Click through each photo for a full description on my flickr site.

Day 22
Day 22

Day 23
Day 23

Day 24
Day 24

Day 25
Day 25

Day 26
Day 26

Day 27
Day 27

Day 28
Day 28

Photo a Day: Week 3

Okay, so late doesn’t even begin to describe this post. However, there are two very good reasons why. First, as I mentioned before, we (my Mom, Dad, brother and hubby) took a family vacation to the Dominican Republic from January 19-26. Second, on January 23 I got more sick than I have been in my life so far. I spiked a fever of 101 and had some other totally gross and disgusting bodily things going on (since this is a family type blog, I’ll refrain from more colorful details). When I went down to the infirmary in the hotel where we were staying, they promptly hooked me up to an IV (massive dehydration). As much fun as being sick in another country was, flying back to the US while still sick was even more fun! Today is the first day I’ve actually really felt okay in the past week and a half. So now it is time to start catching up with my life and getting things back on track!

Since I knew we were leaving on vacation, I deliberately left the theme of the photos for week three open. They are sort of a mish-mash of things but hopefully interesting nonetheless. If you click on any of the photos, it will take you to my flickr site where I’ve put more of a description on each one. Enjoy!

Day 15
Day 15

Day 16
Day 16

Day 17
Day 17

Day 18
Day 18

Day 19
Day 19

Day 20
Day 20

Day 21
Day 21

Tomorrow I’ll post the photos from week four and then things will be closer to all caught up!