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Year 48: Touching Grass

The morning of my birthday, my uncle called and greeted me with, “Happy Birthday, Old Lady!”

I laughed and responded, “Half of me feels old and wants to stay in bed for the rest of the day. The other half feels quite young and wants to go ride my bike!” I don’t think he expected such a response. One full of life and vibrancy.

By the end of my birthday weekend, I realized I don’t feel old at all. I’m simply tired. Exhausted. The last two years have been spent working far too much and way too hard far out of reach of anything touching my comfort zone. I haven’t focused on joy or spent time enjoying myself at all. My only pleasure has been occasional visits to Lake Michigan to sit, reflect, meditate and take pictures. No walks. No bike rides. No friend time or conversations. Very little writing and journaling.

My birthday present to myself this year was to only do things I enjoyed doing. By birth day, I mean the month of August.

Enjoying Lake Michigan from Milan to Chicago

The month began with planning a weekend trip to New York City. I really wanted to visit my former home. Take pictures, fly my drone, walk through the City, ride through Central Park take in a Broadway show or two. Eat at a few of my favorite restaurants. Oh, how I miss NYC food! 😋 Anyway the cost of such a weekend, even as budget conscious as I am now, would have been what I need for a drywall order to finish walling the second floor of my rehab.

Then I remembered InvestFest is happening the same week in Atlanta. So, I pivoted my plans to ATL. About the same cost. And the only food I’m interested in is Dinosaur beef ribs, which my stomach can’t really process. I was willing to talk myself into the expense. I needed to get out. I need to network. I need to continue learning about investing. A work trip with some good food and possible opportunities looked and sounded good.

I got as far as comparing flights. Trying to figure out arrival and departure times stumped me. InvestFest was less than three weeks out and there was no agenda posted anywhere. I reached out via social media asking for an agenda and speaker schedule. Anything I could plan around to justify spending money needed for my biggest investment, my first gut-rehab, on a trip.

As I type, InvestFest starts in three days and there is still no agenda. No schedule. Just a glob of names on a post.

Having worked at a very senior level with executives for whom I planned many townhalls, conferences, and events, nothing happens without an agenda. When you want people to show up, they need to know what, when and who they are showing up for. And speakers are not signing on without locking in the time they are expected to speak. They could’ve shared the speaking time of each daily headliner. I could’ve worked with that.

Needless to say, I didn’t book the flights. As cash strapped as I am, my time is still too valuable to be sitting in someone’s convention hall hoping to hear a speaker I want to see, then having to leave right before they start.

I’m okay waiting for the YouTube uploads.

So that’s how the month started, wanting to get away from my current daily life to enjoy moments that have no connection to me.

The way the month is going is much preferred. I love the coupons and rewards retailers and venues send email and app subscribers. I structure my shopping, eating and entertainment accordingly. A whole month sprinkled with happy moments and good food.

A few years ago, I decided the day of my birthday would be for me only. It started off as a no travel day. Wherever I was, there I would be content with whatever the day brought. Celebrations with people were for before and after.

Bitmoji joy

This year, my sister unexpectedly joined me. She was fresh out of the hospital and trying to speak to her on the phone was beyond aggravating. I was headed out for food and asked if she wanted to join me. She did. She showed up. She talked and opened up more than ever before. She shared some truths she’s never spoken on before. I was happy for the opportunity to have a whole conversation with her.

Shortly after dropping my sister off, I headed to Milwaukee Harbor to enjoy twilight. I took some very unsatisfying blurry selfies in the shadowy darkness. Sensing a challenge going night of photography, I drove around to a boat launch park for a view of the Hoan Bridge that I was standing behind while at the Harbor.

Twilight at Milwaukee Harbor

On the drive around the river bend, fireworks started blasting over the water. I must say, this was the second time in memory my birthday ended with fireworks. It’s quite the special feeling in mid-August. 🥰

I tried to get my drone up for aerial shots of the lit bridge with fireworks overhead, but the battery was nearly dead. My phone was on its last bars too, but I managed something to remember the day for.

Fireworks over the Hoan Bridge, Milwaukee, WI, August 17, 2023

All told, my forty-eighth birthday was deeply pleasing, satisfying, and full of love. I saw my sister and had a meaningful, lucid conversation with her. I spoke with an old friend. I enjoyed a favorite pastime at a favorite location. I shared plans for a future I hadn’t been able to plan for until last week.

So I commend enjoyment, for there is nothing better for people under the sun than to eat and drink and enjoy themselves, for this will go with them in their toil through the days of life that God gives them under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 8:15
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First post on Substack

Subscribe to me there!

My welcome and intro to Harvest Lifer on #Substack.

Link to Substack welcome and intro video
Harvest Life on Substack

I’ve been trying to transition platforms, formats, and models for a while. I like the idea of Patreon and may still post and share rewards from there, but I don’t  seem able to post long-form videos from my phone. Waiting to get home to my desktop will be the end of all sharing for me. 🫠

So, Substack is up for a try. Looks like I can also connect my fledgling Poscasters podcast to my Substack account which is great. We’ll see how posting audio and video to the two platforms blends with written and photo posts.

I will be uploading my email subscribers to both new accounts as I’m feeling confident these two may go a distance. There will be free and paid subscriptions. No pressure. Paid subscribers will qualify for digital and hard copies of selected images and books.

If you have any suggestions, I am open to hearing them.

I look forward to sharing more, more deeply.

Cheers and blessings,


PS: Please bear with me as I navigate and learn new platforms and connections.

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Now Booking Art & Photo Walks

T’is the season for photo and art walks in Miwaukee! I host art and sunset walks through Air BnB Experiences and Search Milwaukee Experiences on the sites to book. Locals and travelers are welcome.

Renee and Alex booked a Photo Walk Experience to kick off to their anniversary trip in Milwaukee. They arrived with questions, curiosity, creativity, and great energy! They learned how to adapt for lighting changes, change the mood of their images in camera, we worked on framing, perspective, angles and observing different environments within proximity of our focus subject. We all agree their upcoming week of vacation photos will be spectacular! 🥰

My @airbnbexperiences Photo Walks are back on the calendar. Search Milwaukee Experiences on @airbnb to book.

#photography #photographer #photowalk #architecture #airbnb #airbnbexperience #airbnbhost #airbnbguest #Milwaukee #milwaukeeartmuseum #mam #architecturephotography #perspective

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Juneteenth Print Series (2023)

All images by LaShawnda Jones except where noted.

This year’s Juneteenth print series features monuments in Montgomery, Alabama and Chicago, Illinois.

For Freedom Day 2023 I wanted to feature the ancestors we have lost to the violence and hatred baked into the American way of life as well as visionaries intent on carving a way through the oppression for themselves and future generations across the American landscape.

Bryan Stevenson‘s Legacy Museum: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration and National Monument of the Peace and Justice were top of mind and spirit this year. As was Chicago’s settler founder and Bronzeville.

We live in a time, culture and society that actively hates reality. The truth of the country’s beginning, its history, and present state is being erased, banned, rewritten and ignored. For this reason, I wanted to focus on words – names, cities, declarations. I wanted to share what’s already been said, what’s already known and seen and acknowledged. This year’s Juneteenth Series is about honoring and remembering not only our collective past but also our shared present.

Follow the links for more information on the people and places featured in the series.

Jars of Earth I, 2021 Copyright 2023 LaShawnda Jones

Jars of Earth I features monument tablets and a wall inscription at The Legacy Museum: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration in Montgomery, Alabama. It is available as an 11×14 low-texture giclée print mounted (or not) on single-weight white foam and as a 5×7 silk print.

They Are All Honored Here, 2021 Copyright, LaShawnda Jones, 2022

Jars of Earth II features monument tablets and a wall inscription at The Legacy Museum: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration in Montgomery, Alabama. It is available as an 11×14 low-texture giclée print mounted (or not) on single-weight black foam and as a 5×7 silk print.

We Will Remember features monument tablets and a wall inscription at The National Memorial for Peace & Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. This image is available as an 11×14 low texture giclée print mounted (or not) on single-weight white foam and as a 5×7 silk print.

They Are All Honored Here, 2021 ©2023 LaShawnda Jones

They Are All Honored Here features monument tablets and a wall inscription at The National Memorial for Peace & Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. It is available as an 11×14 low texture giclée print mounted (or not) on single-weight white foam and as a 5×7 silk print.

Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) Anchors Chicago Skyline (2015) displays the home of the cultural iconic magazines Ebony and JET magazines nearly straddling the meeting point of Bronzeville and Magnificent Mile on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. It is available as a silk print in 5×7 and 10×20. Please allow 2-3 weeks for printing and shipping.

Du Sable on Potawatomi Land is a composite image of a bust of Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue overlooking a mural by Andrea Carlson on the Chicago River Walk stating “Bodéwadmikik ėthë yéyék” meaning “You are on Potawatomi Land.” Du Sable on Potawatomi Land is available as an 11×14 low texture giclée print mounted (or not) on single-weight black foam and as a 5×7 silk print.

Prior Year Series

My 2022 Juneteenth series featured composite images representing money, power and the slave trade. The images used for the composites were taken between 2009 and 2020 in Dallas, Milwaukee, New York, Tucson, and Washington DC. A NASA satellite image of the world at night is incorporated in The Crossing.

Black Women Stand Alone is a composite of a lone Black Woman sitting in front of the White House as a police officer approaches her. Barricades with signs reading *Do Not Enter* are barring her entry to the primary symbol of power in the United States of America. It is available as a 5×7 silk print and 11×14 giclée print.

Land of Cotton depicts Lady Liberty walking across a cotton-filled New York Harbor toward mainland USA. It is available as a 5×7 silk and 11×14 giclée print.

The Crossing: Blood in the Water represents a mother & daughter holding hands across the Atlantic and generations. There’s blood enveloping a ship-like structure behind them that stretches from the African continent to the USA. It is available as a 5×7 silk and 11×14 giclée print.

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Perspective: Spillover Atwater Park

If you haven’t heard of Pete Souza, look him up. I’ve been following him on Instagram since 2017 (according to the app). he’s a former presidential photographer who served Regan and Obama. Following the Obama Administration, Souza based himself in Madison, WI.

On his IG account he shares political images that function as commentary on cultural and historic American moments. However the post that has impacted me the most was a series titled, “The life of a tree, 2020” posted on December 20, 2020.

Life of a tree, 2020. Series post by Pete Souza. Madison, WI.

Though I’ve long done serial photography – returning to favorite spots for varying perspectives – I only thought of myself as an amateur developing my skills. After Pete’s post where he describes happening upon a tree and later realizing the tree was in multiple images, and then deciding to be intentional about a series, I decided to be intentional with a series highlighting my time in Milwaukee, WI.

Since returning to Milwaukee in Spring 2021, I’ve made it my business to enjoy the scenery with the changing seasons. Wherever you are, nature is breathtaking.

My first subject was a tree on Bradford Beach on Lake Michigan. The second and third spots became a lakefront tree line in Veterans Park and a tree-encircled lagoon that reflects the downtown skyline. The forth and most beloved spot is the Harbor Lighthouse. The Spillover II sculpture by Jaume Plensa in Atwater Park in Shorewood, WI enraptured me a year after the other locations. Though it’s a late entry to my intentional Milwaukee/Lake Michigan series the spot has delivered some stunning and introspective images. You can be certain there will be some Spillover II prints available soon.

Late Autumn Sunrise

Early Winter’s Morning

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Harvest Photo Brochure

This summer, Harvest Life partnered with Visit Milwaukee, the convention and visitors bureau for Milwaukee, WI. On their Milwaukee 365 social calendar, Harvest Photo’s Photo Walks are available for booking.

After several unsuccessful attempts in both Arizona and Wisconsin, Harvest Photo finally got approved for AirBnB Experiences this summer as well.

When Experiences first became available, I proposed a desert walk and shoot on Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona. I was hosting in my home at the time and thought it would be a great add-on experience for guests. Airbnb declined my proposed Experience, stating it was too much of a personal service. They wanted something that anyone could participate in in a group setting.

This summer I had two requests for Milwaukee photo shoots by travelers via Airbnb. I explained to both requesters that I had submitted photo experiences prior and why they were declined. The second requestor sent me screenshots from around the country of other photographers doing exactly what I had been asking to do. I sent links to those Experiences to Airbnb and asked what wording they required for my experience to be accepted. I basically plagiarized descriptions from other Experiences, resubmitted my experience, and was approved within 24 hrs.

I share this because I was discouraged. I wasn’t interested in resubmitting my proposal when the first traveler asked me for Airbnb booking info.

I had become so comfortable with rejection, I anticipated it. That hurts to say, as I hadn’t really thought about it like that before.

The Milwaukee Photo Walks have been well-received and I know this format is something I can do wherever I am in the world. That sparks my joy.

All this being said, it was certainly past time to update my Harvest Photo brochure from real estate to more personal offerings.

If you find yourself in Milwaukee, WI while I’m still roaming the city, feel free to look me up for a shoot or walking tour.

If you should encounter me in another city, I’m sure my offerings will be the same or similar. Look me up there.

Should you need a photographer for a life, community, or company event somewhere I am not, remember me. Travel is part of my lifestyle. Branding session needed? I got you!

Please view, like, and share my Harvest Photo brochure below.

Thank you all for your support in the visible, invisible, spoken, and unspoken ways. Though I must say, I respond far more eagerly to what I can see and hear. Feedback is fuel.

Be blessed as you go.


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Photo: Red Lighthouse Series

Upon my return to Milwaukee, WI in spring 2021, I began photographing several spots repeatedly. My intention was to capture as many seasons as I could while in town. It’s been well over a year now and I’ve entered a second cycle for this project.

In edition to capturing spaces at different times of the year, I captured different times of day and various weather conditions. I think it’s a lovely collection of work, but of course I’ biases.

My goal is to offer several as prints in the near future.

Which ones would you enjoy most in your space?

LaShawnda on Lake Michigan at sunrise

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Sunset Photo Walk w/Father + Son

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hosting Rio and Rei for my Sunset Photo Walk Along Lake Michigan. Father and son are on a road trip from Washington DC to New Mexico. I’m so pleased they added my #airbnbexperience to their stop in #Milwaukee

Young Rei is into photography and got some great practice time with techniques and suggestions I shared with him.

#roadtrip #travel #travelphotography #photowalk #airbnb #airbnbhost #lakemichigan #mam #milwaukeeartmuseum #milwaukeephotographer #mkephotographer #milwaukeephotography #visit Milwaukee #Walk #tour #Sunset #moon #joy

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Print Series: Juneteenth 2022


On June 19, 1865, a Union Army general rode into Galveston, TX with General Order #3 to inform the African American enslaved population, and their enslavers, that they were free and had been so since the signing of Proclamation 95 and presidential executive order dated January 1, 1863. Two years, four months and 18 days earlier. Nearly six months after Congress passed the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery on January 31, 1865. And a couple months after the Civil War ended on April 9, 1865.

The general also advised the people who were just informed of their freedom that they should remain on the plantations they had been enslaved on and wait for wages from their former masters who were now deemed their employers with whom they had just been granted equal rights under the law. Yada, yada, yada. We can all see how this played out over the last 157 years.

Ironically, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified on December 6, 1865, was presented as confirmation that slavery was abolished in the United States. Yet the very law that abolished slavery in plain sight, made it legal out of sight. The 13th Amendment allows for slavery and involuntary servitude for those convicted of crimes.


Section 1.

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation

On June 19, 1866, Juneteenth was observed for the first time as the end of slavery in America. [Technically forced prison labor and human trafficking are forms of slavery still thriving in America today, but the unvarnished truth is nothing to celebrate.]

Juneteenth becomes a Federal Holiday

On February 25, 2021, Senator Edward Markey sponsored Juneteenth National Independence Day as a legal public holiday in Congress. The act was signed into law on June 17, 2021. On June 19, 2021, everyone in America enjoyed a new federal holiday – many of whom had no idea of the roots or significance.

For the 156th Juneteenth aka Emancipation Day, and the second Juneteenth National Independence Day, I observed in the silence of my creative space. I chose to edit three pieces from my catalog that speak to me about the foundation of exploitation in the United States of America and the continued impact of capitalist malfeasance on our existence today.

Though my most recent work focuses on Black Women, the harm is felt throughout all of society.

As much as people want to think that the least valued and unappreciated people don’t matter in the larger picture, the history of the world shows that what a society accepts for the least of their members will become the norm for all.

We are all the same in differ ways.

The Juneteenth Print Series

It may seem late for #Juneteenth, but #freedom is actually late.

The prints in my Juneteenth 2022 Print Series are titled:

The Crossing: Blood in the Water
Built on Cotton
Black Women Stand Alone

Each image is available as 5×7 & 11×14 print on silk paper. They can be ordered on this site and via my Square Store.

The Juneteenth 2022 Print Series: Built on Cotton depicts Lady Liberty walking towards mainland USA across New York Harbor as a sea of cotton.

The New York Slavery Records of the City University of New York dates slavery in New York back to 1525. They cite the 1830 census as recording 75 enslaved Africans in the state, despite an 1817 law emancipating the enslaved in the state.

The Crossing: Blood in the Water depicts a mother & daughter holding hands across the Atlantic. There’s blood enveloping a ship-like structure behind them that stretches from the African continent to the USA.

Between 1500 and 1900, it’s estimated that approximately 15 million Africans from across the continent were taken by European enslavers. There are no exact numbers as no one kept detailed records. Approximately 10.5 million enslaved Africans arrived in the Americas and the Caribbean. Some estimate that close to 2 million are buried in the Atlantic Ocean with the remainder dying in Africa during their transport to the coast.

Black Women Stand Alone depicts a lone Black Woman sitting in front of the White House as a police officer approaches her. Barricades with signs reading *Do Not Enter* are barring her entry to the seat of power.”

State violence against Black Women happens in many forms and infiltrates every level and theatre of society. Black women are treated as inferior humans, wives, mothers, employees. They are neglected in education, healthcare, business, government and society. They are targeted by men, women, science, police, and government programs. There are truly no safe spaces at any level for Black Women.