As a child, JOEL SIMPSON collected rocks and fossils, and since then, rock textures have held a particular fascination for him. He also loved to draw and taught himself photography starting at age 13. He made careers in college English and foreign language teaching (PhD comparative literature, Brown,1976) and performed and taught jazz piano (Master of Music, Loyola, New Orelans, 1994), before going professional in photography in 2002. From 2003 to 2015, inspired by prehistoric sculpture, he created an extended series of body projections, which he showed in Paris (Musée de l’érotisme), Tours, Rome, Barcelona, and many US galleries and art fairs. Images from this collection have been published in Silvershotz (Australia), View Magazine (Brussels), Camera Arts (Boulder, CO) and Focus Exposures (online). Having explored many photographic modes (e.g. social documentary, figure studies, scrap metal, portraiture, fashion, archeology, landscapes), he now focuses on geological photography, his first love. He went around the world in 2014 and continues to travel extensively in search of provocative mineral formations.
In 2007 Simpson curated a 125-artist photography show at the Williamsburg Art and Historical (WAH) Center in Brooklyn, Sun Pictures to Mega-Pixels, focusing on non-silver-based photography. The WAH Center continues to show and collect his work. He has lectured and taught photography extensively, including seminars on the Colorado Plateau. His awards include ten Black and White Spider Awards (2012–2020, UK), and was named one of the “10 Best Landscape Photographers of 2019” by One Eyeland (India). His 168-pp book, Earthforms: Intimate Portraits of Our Planet, was featured on the cover of Natural History Magazine (June, 2019), and won the 2019 Nautilus Gold Award for Art and Photography.