Playgrounds for the Mind

Playgrounds for the Mind by Joel Simpson distills what is most original in Earthforms, extending it into fresh fields of bizarre, provocative, even and unsettling rock formations, mostly in rich black and white. Going deeper into Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist forms, Simpson distances himself from standard location-based landscapes to use the tactile rock (and ice) surface as a canvas, addressing the viewer’s buried visual associations, where the terrible and the beautiful may combine–alternating with the whimsical.

Playgrounds for the Mind (2nd edition), 50 pp. 11x8.5”, 42 images (34 black and white, 8 color), includes introduction, captions, biography


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Here’s What Critics Have Said:


“Playgrounds for the Mind reveals Joel Simpson as part genius, part crazy man with his intense passion for what he calls geological art photography and his practice of pursuing ‘miniscapes’ (mostly black and white short field images) in near and far world locations. The miniscapes are gorgeous, strangely compelling beauties rooted in Surrealism. The images beckon me to their sites which I know I could never find; Simpson has saved me the trouble and makes them even more beautiful than they probably are.” —Harvey Stein, educator, author, photographer.
“Simpson claims a Surrealist pedigree to his current work that may reveal mysterious figures in rock formations, but whether they’re there or not, the work is striking.” —Lyle Rexer, photo critic and author.

Here’s a selection of public comments on this work from a recent art fair:

“Violent and contemplative at the same time.” —A. DeF.
“Quite impressive!” —H. N.
“Phenomenal!” —Y. M.
“So mesmerizing!” —A. S.
“Awesome work!” —S. F.
“Arresting!” —M. & D. K.
“Magnificent!” —Teresa
“Very other worldly!” —S. R. S.
“Terrifying! And so beautiful!” —L. N.
“Beautiful photos—mysterious!” —D. C.
“Beautiful work, eye-catching – just amazing work.” —S. W.
“You get a lot out of simple physics.” —D. G. W.
“Absolutely breathtaking.” —B. J.
“So, so spectacular!” —F. E. F.
“Joel, you are incomparable!” —F. & G. P.


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