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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.

LaShawnda

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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

Background

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.

AMENDMENT XIII

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.

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Mountain Landscape Composites

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?

Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ

Chiricahua National Monument, Willcox, AZ

Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ

Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ

Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ

Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ

Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ

Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ

Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ

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I AM Woman: A Celebration of Being

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

Play Video

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.

Please email Shawnda@Harvest-Life.org with inquiries, requests and bulk orders.

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I AM WOMAN Covers

I have a release date for the I AM WOMAN: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America! It will be available for purchase on June19, 2021 via Amazon. YAY!

The low pre-order price is available until the release date. All pre-orders will be shipped from me so they can be signed copies if you wish.

I’m pretty psyched finally seeing this project come together! The photography and design are my work. Stay tuned for more posts throughout the week.

What do you think of the covers? Any critique on the back cover blurb?

Click to purchase your copy of I AM WOMAN: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America. 

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Gear Up & Upskill

I take a lot of pictures. Especially since I got a digital camera. Even more so since I started buying 125GB memory cards. And I save everything. I just did a quick scan of my image catalog and I have at least 152,000 images on my mobile drive. That doesn’t include anything on my desktop, laptop, phone or tablet – possibly another 10,000 combined on those.

Before 2009, all my photography was on film. I was all about snapshots. Being artsy wasn’t a priority. I wanted to capture moments. Around that year, I purchase my first digital camera, perhaps an Olympus with zoom. It could hold a couple hundred images on the memory at a time. Much more capacity than film, but not enough when you want to photograph everything.

In 2011, I invested in my first DSL, a Sony A33. I knew I wanted to eventually become a paid professional photographer so I had to get serious about my gear and skills. Practicing with different lenses, prime and zoom, in different settings for varying purposes allowed me to get extremely comfortable with being in the background and observing life from a pensive compositional view point.

Over the years, I’ve photographed vacations, visits, weddings, births, funerals, corporate, community and social events and nearly all of my travel. Nature has been my true love, however, trying to capture light in an image, the way it moves over a scene, changing the mood and color, is fascinating. The moon in all its stages is mesmerizing. Great shots of the sun are illusive. As are images that do the stars any justice. Then there are trees that I stalked through their seasonal cycles. Every spring in New York City, saw me searching out budding tulips as well. And over the last couple of years, I’ve been improving my skills with self-portraiture.

In 2018, I felt I was ready for an upgrade and ready to start hiring myself out for photography work. I purchased my Sony A7iii and beefed up my gear kit significantly. I had already been the unofficial official photographer for my group’s legal conferences and other events at work for about seven years. And by that time, I had been photographing demonstrations for social justice (against police brutality and state-sanctioned murder) for nearly four years. I had quite a portfolio, all I needed to do was cull and focus the work.

Focusing on my strong suits, however, is difficult when I enjoy doing everything, and perhaps my best work isn’t necessarily the most financially lucrative. See social justice photography. Or satisfying. I’ve had friends tell me that some of the images I took of their weddings and receptions were better than the photos they paid a premium for. But who wants to be a full-time wedding photographer? I don’t mind the occasional wedding, but that’s a lot on a regular basis.

Over the last year, I’ve been hyper-focused on upskilling. At the beginning of the second week of January 2019, I had just returned home from two weeks in Egypt and Ethiopia. Perhaps about 3200 photos were taken on that trip. While I was there, I knew I was documenting for collections and art, meaning, I wanted to create artwork from the images and do some travel writing as well. One of my investments that year had been a Sony 12-24mm wide lens, an upgrade from my Rokinon 12-16mm. It was purchased for my real estate photography, but I love it for travel, nature and portraiture.

In the summer of 2018, I began working on a photography project called I AM WOMAN. I had a vision for the images as I took them, but I didn’t have the skill to create the end result. That didn’t stop me. Somehow I knew I would learn what I needed to know in order to accomplish my vision. That’s the primary reason I don’t delete my photos. As I review the images I took in 2018 of nearly seventy women, I’ve realized that what stood out to me at the point of the shoot, and even during the initial reviews, are not necessarily the same things standing out to me as I edit for my photobook. As I’ve learned to use Lightroom, Photoshop, Microsoft ICE and Topaz Labs effectively to enhance my photography I’ve learned that even dull and dreary images can be fantastic elements for a composited image. That knowledge has kept me from mass purging.

For example, one of my gleeful moments in editing I AM WOMAN, is the final composition of Lyn’s image. One thing I’ve been adamant about for this project was that the women come as they are. I wasn’t interested in glamor shots or over-stylized images. That being said, looking through the images while trying to build a cohesive collection for a book, many were uninspiring. So I looked for ways I could enhance the image without altering the appearance of the woman. During one of those exercises last month, Lyn’s final happened.

Lyn in Columbus Circle, NYC. A Sphinx in the MET Museum, NYC.

Lyn was photographed in Columbus Circle in the center of Manhattan. Neither of us were interested in representing Columbus at all. Even less so in a work about Black Women in America. I had already had several shoots in Central Park and the one before Lyn was in front of the Time Warner building shops. A great thing about NYC is the great many backgrounds you can get within the span of a block. We tried to focus on the JOY and GLORY on the pedestal of the monument. Though this is one of my favorite images for its simplicity, it didn’t seem to speak to others.

More than two years after the image was taken my skills caught up to my vision. Lyn’s word is Resilient. Stone is a good representation of resiliency, but how much better is a Sphinx than a monument Columbus? The Sphinx image was taken during my last visit to The Met Museum in 2019. I had the idea of merging, compositing and juxtaposing images, but I couldn’t figure out how to put images together to make them look like one.

Well, technology also caught up to my vision. My first photo project was a calendar in 2004. I hired a photographer and photo-editor. For my second calendar a couple of years later, I tried my hand at editing some images in Photoshop. I was hopeless. The task seemed impossible as a lot of the work required a steady hand to remove objects and trim around pixelated edges. Now with a click or two and some close touch-ups elements are easily isolated. Just like that, I can go beyond my initial vision without alternating the presentation of the Woman or subject.

My process of compositing the two images.

It also helped when I realized I don’t have to follow any rules, only my imagination. Therefore, I can create whatever flows from my thoughts and present it in whatever way pleases me.

Lyn’s final image for I AM WOMAN: Expressions of Black Womanhood photobook.

I have never sought to be perfect in anything. I only seek to be present and do what I can with what I have. What I’ve learned is what I have increases over time, as does my effective use of my skills and resources.

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I AM Woman Cover Work

This project has been my heart focus for a couple of years now. When it first came to mind, I had no idea how I was going to achieve a cohesive product because my thoughts for it were/are all over the place.

Despite very sound advice to focus on one theme, idea, pattern and font to carry throughout the project, I don’t think, create or interact like that. I’ve photographed over fifty women in six states at different stages of their lives from completely different backgrounds. The one thing they were all asked was: What word would you use to describe your womanhood? (My theme.) From that we went about trying to portray each woman and her word in an image. (Completely different styles all around.) Aside from the question and their interest, very few had much in common. So as I edit these images, my primary goal is to make each one stand on its own and hopefully, as individuals they can be a collective together. That’s an overall hope for my life as well.

Below are some steps I’ve taken to get to the cover for I AM Woman: Expressions of Black Womanhood.

Now accepting pre-orders for a limited number of copies. Place your order at Harvest-Life.org/shop.

Original image and near final cover for I AM Woman: Expressions of Black Womanhood. All photography and edits by LaShawnda Jones.