Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee

Photojournalist

Jessica Lee is a photojournalist from Toronto, Canada. After freelancing from abroad and in Toronto for most of her career, she moved to Winnipeg in 2021 to join the Free Press.

Jessica is primarily interested in stories about culture, lifestyle, social justice, identity and migration.

Her work has appeared in the National Geographic, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Maclean’s Magazine, Toronto Life Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, Zoomer Magazine and Maisonneuve Magazine.

You can see more of her work at: www.jessicaglee.com.

 

Recent articles of Jessica Lee

Free Press photographer Jessica Lee chronicles Ukrainian family’s first month in Winnipeg

Jessica Lee 5 minute read Preview

Free Press photographer Jessica Lee chronicles Ukrainian family’s first month in Winnipeg

Jessica Lee 5 minute read Friday, May. 20, 2022

In late February, when the bombs started falling in the middle of the night on Kharkiv, Ukraine, Olena Hrushytska, 37, her son, Oleksandr (Sasha) Hrushytskyi, 6, and her fiancé, Sergiy Adamenko, 41, left their home and made their way to a subway station where many others were seeking shelter from the blasts.

They were accompanied by Adamenko’s parents and Hrushytska’s mom, a young friend, three dogs and a cat.

Life underground lasted a day. It was uncomfortable. Sasha was sleeping on a blanket on the floor; the older parents were unable to sleep at all.

They returned to their house, which they attempted to fortify as best they could. They blocked windows by stacking books and taped window panes.

Friday, May. 20, 2022

Candid photos of Olena and Sergiy with a passport in their Winnipeg home. They met when they were younger, but reconnected in early 2020 after both divorced their partners. (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press)

Artist gives new life to old books

Brenda Suderman / Photos by Jessica Lee 7 minute read Preview

Artist gives new life to old books

Brenda Suderman / Photos by Jessica Lee 7 minute read Sunday, May. 15, 2022

Never one to judge a book by its cover, Transcona artist Debra Frances Plett believes the components of a well-made book speaks volumes about what’s inside.

“I really became intrigued with the fact that all of the parts of the book can reflect the contents of the book,” she says of choosing end papers, cover materials and binding techniques in her book making.

Along with blank journals featuring fish leather covers, logbooks actually made from vertically split logs, and leather-covered medieval girdle books meant to carry on the belt of the wearer so they could walk and read, Plett also builds books from the discarded pages or covers of commercially made books.

“I don’t take apart good books,” explained the book artist.

Sunday, May. 15, 2022

Deb Frances, a book artist, finds new life for old books, binding still-readable tomes into long-lasting works of art or repurposing books that can no longer be saved.

The joys and realities of being a photojournalist in a Winnipeg winter

Jessica Lee | Winnipeg Free Press 2 minute read Preview

The joys and realities of being a photojournalist in a Winnipeg winter

Jessica Lee | Winnipeg Free Press 2 minute read Friday, Feb. 25, 2022

Last August, I left Toronto for Winnipeg to start a new job as a photojournalist at the Free Press.

Before departing, friends jokingly wished me the best in ‘Winterpeg.’

Having only been to Winnipeg once before — a one-hour pit stop en route to Edmonton aboard the Via train in the summer of 2013 — it was the first time I had heard that term.

But I soon became intimately familiar with my friends’ jest.

Friday, Feb. 25, 2022

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS February 8, 2022: After lunch, I walk around the neighbourhood to look for interesting photos. At 2C, today is one of the warmest days in weeks and I feel comfortable going out with only one sweater and my parka. I don’t even wear a hat or bring gloves.

Manitoba premier consoles Pimicikamak Cree Nation after tragic fire

Danielle Da Silva and Jessica Lee 5 minute read Preview

Manitoba premier consoles Pimicikamak Cree Nation after tragic fire

Danielle Da Silva and Jessica Lee 5 minute read Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022

PIMICIKAMAK CREE NATION — Heather Stefanson offered comforting words to grief-stricken family members who lost “three innocent lives” in a weekend house fire, but the chief of the northern First Nation wants more than words from Manitoba’s premier.

During her first trip to a First Nation since becoming premier, Stefanson met Wednesday with the grandparents of the North children — Kolby, 17, Jade, 13, and two-year-old Reid — on Pimicikamak Cree Nation. The couple lives next to the small home that was destroyed early Saturday.

The children’s mother and father, both 36, a 20-year-old woman, and a four-year-old girl had been able to escape the flames.

Stefanson expressed her condolences and later spent time with friends and relatives who were in mourning.

Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Premier Heather Stefanson hugs a relative of the family at Cross Lake.

Inuit sculptor honours creative mother in massive piece outside WAG’s Qaumajuq

Jen Zoratti / Photography by Mikaela MacKenzie and Jessica Lee 15 minute read Preview

Inuit sculptor honours creative mother in massive piece outside WAG’s Qaumajuq

Jen Zoratti / Photography by Mikaela MacKenzie and Jessica Lee 15 minute read Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

ELIE — Goota Ashoona prefers to work outside.

That’s where she first learned to make her art as a child growing up in an Inuit outpost camp on the shores of Baffin Island, Nunavut, transforming snow into miniature igloos and polar bears under a sky that danced at night.

Today, Ashoona is seated at her outdoor workbench at her home much further south near Elie, her tiny 4-foot-11 frame bundled into a bright-blue hoodie emblazoned with the word “Nunavut” against the red inuksuk and the blue star (the Niqirtsuituq, or North Star) from the territorial flag. She’s surrounded by trees and, beyond them, open prairie.

It’s early afternoon in the small community about 45 kilometres west of Winnipeg, but already, the November sunlight is long and low. Ashoona is carving faces, among her favourite things to carve, into beluga whalebone. It’s silent out here, save for the whine of her rotary tool.

Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Ashoona in front of her sculpture she made based on a drawing her grandmother created.

Sioux Valley Dakota Unity Riders' horseback rides call attention to issues, connect ancestors

Melissa Martin, photos by Jessica Lee 17 minute read Preview

Sioux Valley Dakota Unity Riders' horseback rides call attention to issues, connect ancestors

Melissa Martin, photos by Jessica Lee 17 minute read Friday, Oct. 22, 2021

The riders take a break as the sun climbs high, pulling the horses off the road somewhere on the long, flat highway north from Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. They’ve ridden maybe 11 kilometres at this point, riders guiding horses through the long grasses in the ditch, trucks hauling horse trailers purring along beside them.

Although it’s already mid-October, the heat has crept up on them with a surprising conviction, and the horses, some new to being ridden and others getting long in the tooth, need a rest. So the Sioux Valley Dakota Unity Riders decide to break for lunch, to laugh and also to pray.

For three decades, the Unity Riders have made journeys like these, trekking on horseback to call attention to issues that impact Indigenous communities and beyond. Today, they ride for kidney disease awareness. In June, they led a large ride to Brandon in memory of the children lost to residential schools.

Sometimes, they wear traditional regalia; today, they wear hoodies and jeans. Sometimes, dozens of equestrians join the ride; today, there are just five. There were more who wanted to come, but it’s the long weekend and many have plans. Still, the ride is sacred to them, no matter how big or how small, and so it must go on.

Friday, Oct. 22, 2021

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
To teach the next generation about horses, is to teach them about themselves, says Vince Tacan.