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.
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.
Happy New Year! In 2023… May all your troubles meet their solutions May you be refreshed by grace May your joy be bountiful May peace envelope and insulate you May God bless my creative offerings and allow my works to enrich you and I For new content, subscribe toHarvest-Life.org
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Creating composite images is a favorite process of mine. It’s time consuming and I have only worked on a small fraction of the images I’ve captured, but seeing a panorama come together from several images is an inspirational joy. Usually editing is required to even out lines in the landscape, but when it works, it works beautifully.
Below are some composites from my time in Arizona. I’ve been mining my cache for possible prints and NFTs to offer for purchase. Are there any you can see on your wall?
I AM WOMAN: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America is a showcase of the indomitable Spirit of Black Womanhood weaving through generations as cord of strength and wisdom.
Forget the world.
I AM WOMAN is a declaration of existence – without permission.
Everyone is aware of their outward image. Many people spend their lives enhancing their shadow while neglecting their substance. The narratives within I AM WOMAN span five centuries of a powerfully consistent perspective. Despite habitual abuse, neglect, sexual violence, human trafficking, and a stifling minimum of economic opportunities, Black Women have continuously elevated themselves and grown in excellence.
Who Do you say you are?
I AM WOMAN: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America is a triumphant response to centuries of oppression, neglect, and abuse. It’s a tribute to the women in America who are not seen, heard, honored, or appreciated, yet are always relied upon to support every layer of society. This collection of images and words is an expression of how Black Women in America see themselves. Who they believe they are as individuals in private, in public, as a community, and as givers and receivers of ancestral grace.
Comprised of portraits, poetry, essays, and speeches, I AM WOMAN reaches back to Isabel de Olvera who swore an affidavit in 1600 declaring her freedom from marriage and slavery to the deeply inspiring inauguration of Kamala Harris as the first Afro-Asian and Woman Vice President of the United States of America 2021.
Photographed, compiled, and edited by LaShawnda Jones, I AM WOMAN: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America weaves together contributions from Women across the United States throughout the country’s history.
With contributions from dozens of women
One book, several formats
Behind the Scenes
We are who we are.
About LaShawnda Jones
LaShawnda Jones is an independent author, photographer and publisher for Harvest Life. Her work focuses on women, spiritual growth, and social justice. She has published several books exploring the impact of childhood sexual trauma in adulthood as well as the challenges and joys of applying principles of faith in all her interactions. She has a B.A in Political Science and French and a M.A. in International Affairs. She has studied in France and Poland in addition to missionary training in New York City and Israel.
LaShawnda Is a member of the RAINN Speaker’s Bureau and is available for speaking engagements nationally. She is also available for photography assignments. Her creative work can be viewed at Harvest-Life.org.