Why I Made This Website

I made this website to help myself and others keep track of all the various projects and pursuits I am involved in. It also makes it easier to give a single web address to anyone who is trying to figure me out.

These parts of my world are presented in no particular order and, yes, I did leave some out.

Jon Sachs

I created this site (with terrific programming support) for the Grassroots Collaboration Project. The site allows pro-democracy groups nationwide to register, network together, and show up on a national map.

We are working to enlist the very many grassroots groups in the red states.

Over the past two decades I have taken over 10,000 photos of life at MIT, from classrooms to parties.

If you need photographic services for MIT (or anywhere else) please view this portfolio and get in touch.

I have taken up sculpture – rather late in life, but to make it even more tricky I am working to create interactive mechanical sculptures. Almost nobody else is working on this particular flavor of sculpture. 

I find it fascinating and the early test works seem to be well received by visitors. 

This is the website for my freelance graphics business, where I do websites, general graphic design, photography, and video.

You can see that even in this first category I an already going in too many directions, but they are all good directions and a number of clients rely on me for these graphic services.

This is one of the more unexpected aspects of my later life, even to me.

I waited 40 years until the intense light from Dylan’s star dimmed a bit before I stuck my neck out and started writing songs.

Recently I have put each song up with an original video, which adds another dimension to each and might help obscure the fact that I am not a great singer.

But, to be honest, I think my songs are really good.

A website I created when my oldest brother Fred passed away. Fred was like a beloved uncle more than a brother. He brought magic into the lives of so many, including his parents, brothers, wives, children, friends, and colleagues.

Here is the website that presents a greater portfolio of my photography work, including extensive work for MIT and the Music and Theater Program at MIT.

I was making a bit of a push towards more portrait work just when something called COVID came calling. I can still do distanced portraits, if you have need.

A friend of mine went to Uganda to see the mountain gorillas, which of course is a remarkable experience. But unlike many visitors to Africa, he did not focus entirely on the wildlife: he made an important connection to a boy and stayed in touch.

Years later this boy is grown and has created a program called the Girl’s Skills Development Center, where he teaches young women crafts and ways to make money; to free them from poverty.

I was pleased to be able to create a website for the young man, Denis Musingizi, and we are working to expand the functions of the site. But you can go there and donate right now! 

While I was serving on The Town of Burlington Master Plan Steering Committee, I kept tossing out ideas that I thought might enhance the quality of life in Burlington.

The Committee politely ignored my strangest ideas, but a number of people came forward and said that The Sculpture Park is a good idea.

Friends and I created our own styrofoam sculptures and brought them to town events. 

Eventually things came together and I ended up chairing an official Sculpture Park Committee, a subcomittee of Burlington’s Planning Board.

With much help and cooperation and many donations we made the park a reality in the summer of 2020, and there is much more to come.

My buddy from Russia, now living in Montenegro, is my partner in creating offbeat music videos… for no reason other than we love doing them.

He sends me music and I video-ize them, or I send video and he music-izes them. 

In spite of the fact that we do them because we enjoy it, if something here sparks an idea involving paid work… perhaps we can be bought.

Hear more of my Russian buddy, who goes by Floor is Lava

I interview Al Kooper weekly and get his stories about Bob Dylan, Blood, Sweat and Tears, The Rolling Stones, and a hundred other rock legends. Hear stories about those people, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison and others. I also created and maintain Al’s website.  

For the last decade or so I have been on the board of The Friends of Mary Cummings Park, the group that saved this magnificent park from commercial development (though the largest struggles came before my time).

Today The Trustees (of Reservations) have become park managers so my role in trail maintenance, trail signage, and volunteer coordination is much smaller.

But I still manage the website I created and still make and upload lots of photographs and videos of the park.

There is also a photo book of my park images that you can buy.

This is basically a multi-topic blog where I can post what’s on my mind, from political rants to moments of joy.

It keeps things that would, were they just tossed into the sometimes slimy river of social media, float off downstream.

Jon’s Journal gives them a proper home.

Some years ago I was in the woods taking a photo of a perfect little poison ivy plant. A family of Russian immigrants asked what I was shooting and I told them.

The father said, in a lovely Russian accent, “Ah, we hav herd dat plant, but not know what look like.”

So I went home and built a website to teach all what poison ivy looks like, along with its sisters, poison oak and sumac.

The site has grown enormously over the years and features a wide and deep assortment of information about these very difficult plants. 

The site gets a few thousand visitors each summer day, with occasional spikes into the hundreds of thousands.

I have been involved in community theater (and occasional professional productions) for over two decades.

I have created projections for plays including Terra Nova, A Piece of My Heart, The Laramie Project, and others.

In addition I have taken photos of nearly every production at Quannapowitt Players for 20 years (for which they actually honored me with the Life Member award.)

I have also taken photos for Vokes Players, MIT, Wellesley Players, Salem Theater Company, Marblehead Little Theater, and the Umbrella.

You can also see more of my images at the site I created for my partner and marvelous set designer, Ruth Neeman.

Some years ago I became consumed with the idea of making a teaching website about the creative variables within photography.

I spent a year of Fridays taking over 6,000 photos of dancer, comedian, and pianist Nicole Pierce, and then created a website where visitors could slide sliders to change fstop, exposure, color and hundreds of other variables.

The site still gets a few hundred visitors a week. It’s unlike any other photo teaching tool on the web.

It is powerful to sit down and have someone give you their life story.

And to record that story for family and future generations truly is priceless.

My personal history video project is called Video120, after the popular Israeli birthday expression “May you live to 120.”

COVID has slowed this project for now. We have experimented doing this online, which is a workable substitute, if you have someone whose life story should be on video.

The Purple Project was largely my attempt to reach out to swing state voters. 

Since the election I have put this project on the back burner, but intend to revisit it when I have a more clear sense of how the country is doing in the post-Trump era.

The site and Facebook page consist of videos of and by me where I start from what I think is a neutral position and explain why I want people to vote blue.