Ms. Lee has worked as a photographer in Springfield for the past 20 years, including for the Democratic staff of the Illinois State Senate and as a photojournalist for the Illinois Times. She completed graduate-level photo classes at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her work has been on display with the Prairie Art Alliance at the Hoogland Center for the Arts and the Alliance’s new gallery on Sixth St., as well as at the Artisans Shop at the Illinois State Museum.
Ms. Lee writes of her exhibit: “I grew up in Mt. Vernon, a town of 16,000 in southern Illinois. During the summer my dad would pile us into our Oldsmobile, usually with neighbor kids, and go to the Dairy Queen and a drive in the country, to cool off. That may be where I learned to look at the landscape of the Midwest. I still like to go out on two-lane roads to see what I can find to photograph.
“I am fascinated by roadside curiosities, such as original hand-lettered signs and rusted vehicles, quirky arrangements, and things out of context. I am also interested in the process of decay, how something dilapidated and rusting away can be quite beautiful. I also feel compelled to document the disappearing rural landscape. As the years go by, I feel that my work is more about quiet moments.
“Almost all the black and white work here was printed in my darkroom. Some are toned with selenium to enhance them. I use good-old Kodak Tri-X film, as well as Kodak infrared film. A few are digital prints from scanned negatives.
“Recently I came across this quote from photographer Elliott Erwitt, someone I’ve admired for a long time: ‘To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.’ That resonates with me.”