Don Simmons - In memoriam
"Taking up photography as a hobbyist came quite naturally to me. My Grandfather and my father were both avid photographers, and my grandfather actually had a working darkroom for a number of years. As a young person, my family lived in Venezuela, and we were fortunate enough to be able to travel to many of the countries in Central and South America. When I went into the military, it seemed quite natural for me to continue documenting my travels there. I bought my first camera, a Nikon Nikkormat FT2, in 1970, and began photographing places I visited. It was not until the early 1980s when I took a black and white class in college that I became passionate about photography as an art form. I feel that our surroundings have a lot to offer us visually, but oftentimes we fail to see these wonders because we are too entrenched in our everyday lives to see them. We all need more tranquility in our lives, and as such I photograph subjects that elicit feelings of peace and tranquility for me. These may not be the same things that cause the same feelings in you but that’s OK; this is an exploration of the world around us – and it will tend to affect us all in different ways. I am intrigued with the desert, and I am intrigued with the city; each has its own characteristics that appeal to me on some level. I am extremely intrigued by the beauty of dissolution, or “Urban Decay”. I am impressed by things that are simple, and represent a way of life long since gone. I photograph in black and white much of the time because of the rich tonality these prints can yield if done properly, and I am motivated to continue this journey by contemporary artists like Bruce Barnbaum, John Sexton, and Clyde Butcher to name a few.
"For the last several years I have spent a lot of time photographing both the landscape, “Urban Decay”, and people. These are the things that interest me right now. I am one of those that still believes in the awesome power of film, but increasingly am shooting in digital…I just enjoy photography and am apt to use whatever camera is available to do the job."