Peter Simon is my little brother. I may be biased, but I think he is a brilliant photographer in capturing the essence, the emotion and the history contained within each of his photographs.
I was skeptical at first when he told me about his DVD project. Now that I've seen it however, I am thrilled. It is the perfect way for Peter to deliver his memoirs. He travels through the chapters of his life as one would do in an autobiography, but "showing" rather than just "telling". You experience the decades of his life that take him through the 50's of his childhood, the 60's hippie and anti-war movements, to going on the road with him as he captures the images of rock stars and political figures; you go to Jamaica with him and understand his passion for reggae, and he documents his beloved Martha's Vineyard in all its magic and mystery. All the while he comments and illuminates the images with his informed and folksy narrative.
- Lucy Simon -
Dear Peter, your "Through the Lens" is an amazing work. When you said that introducing yourself to MLK brought tears to your teenage eyes, you brought tears to my eyes as well. As did several of your images. Like you, I am a Boomer--a year younger--and participated in many of the events you've chronicled so brilliantly. Looking at your images, they came flooding back. Thanks so much for all the memories!
I also want to say that you are most appealing on the DVD. The way you positioned yourself against the photo wall pulls us in. Your wry, often self self-effacing humor is charming-- as is the bonnet/kippah - and your husky voice is easy on the ears.
So, what's not to like? With admiration.......
- Cameron Beck -
Hello Peter, I have just finished watching Through the Lens and you are to be commended for sharing, and disclosing, the highs and lows of a most fascinating journey. We are the same age and so there was a lot there that resonated.
The section on Jamaica especially brought back a lot of memories as I lived there in the early 70s as a Peace Corps Volunteer. At that time reggae had not yet moved off the island. I have a vague memory of watching a band called simply "The Wailers" in Spanish Town. Who knew.
I also share your approach to photography and the ability to know when one's "head, heart and eye are on the same axis" (to quote HC-B).
- Andrew Theokis -
The Ho family
Dear Peter, my name is Cecily Ho and I am the daughter of Heather Ho. You have photographed not only my family, but my extended family as well. I was in your store during Thanksgiving, and purchased one of the first copies of your video. I watched the whole thing, and I really enjoyed listening to your life story. I think your journey of photography from childhood to now, from black and white to color, and your vast variety of your different works is fascinating. I love all of the pieces and really admire you as an artist, especially how you make such a good photographs in all the different aspects - including portraits, street work, and landscapes/sunsets. I am taking a photography course at my school, and I really enjoy it. I certainly have a lot to learn, but I guess there is time for that. Keep up the good work!
- Cecily Ho -
Howie Rose, New York Mets
Peter.... I started watching your DVD yesterday....Saw the first couple of chapters, and moved on to the "Legendary People" chapter. I will fill in the blanks over the coming days.
Please trust that I am not being patronizing in the least....I was really moved by so much of what I saw. I'm so sorry that you didn't have more time to bond with your dad, and that he didn't see all that you became. Sadly, I can relate. I lost my father beginning in my late teenage years to Alzheimer's, so I share some, if not much of what you went through. If our dads were the motivating forces in our developing careers doing what we love, then maybe we weren't cheated quite as much as we think.
Your story about Martin Luther King brought me to the edge of tears. I wonder how often he heard remarks like yours from other people who were not of color. Had he and Bobby (and John) Kennedy lived, who knows how different this world would be? You must have had great balance standing on a bumper to take that picture of RFK.
The pictures of your family, as well as those of the Robinson family are terrific. I wonder if the Mets could find room for any of the latter in the Mets rotunda at Citifield?
Obviously, the pictures of the musicians are phenomenal. Was that melded guitar neck shot of Jerry Garcia just a coincidence? It couldn't have come together more perfectly.
I'm sure I will enjoy watching the rest of your work as much as I did the beginning. Stay in touch, and I hope you and your family have a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year.
- Howie Rose, chief radio broadcaster for the New York Mets -
Hello Peter, today we watched Through the Lens, my partner Larry and I. It was a pleasure start to finish. I had been looking forward to this since the Kick starter campaign and planned to forward it as a gift to my step-sister who will enjoy it a lot. She, along with a girlfriend, were the founders of the Grateful Dead fan club back around the time when I was in high school and, along with a girlfriend, got the Dead to play for a high school dance in an elementary auditorium for a fee of a thousand bucks!
So thank you for the indelible images and good humored commentary. It makes me regret that I didn't get to know you other than barely when I had the chance back in the late mid-seventies in NY. (But perhaps it's not too late. If you and Ronni should come to Taos some day, please look me up if you are inclined.)
- Dwarka Bonner -
Peter Simon's landmark photographic career is a national treasure. His brilliant, beautiful documentation of the sweep of our visual history is compelling and unique. From Bobby Kennedy and Jackie Robinson to Bill Clinton and Bill Styron, from civil rights and MUSE to communal living, Led Zeppelin to Bob Marley, his work is breathtaking in depth and scope. To say nothing of his inspired Vineyard landscapes! This DVD is also a hell of a lot of fun to watch! Don't miss it!!!
- Harvey Wasserman -
Hi Peter, I hope you and the family are well and staying warm. I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed watching Thru the Lens. It was a privilege to do my small part on Kickstarter and I have framed my Cat & Carly London 1971 photo in a frame and matting that pairs nicely with my larger Cat Stevens Backyard 1971 picture.
As you mentioned in the film, I also played Tea for the Tillerman over and over and he was one of the primary inspirations for me picking up the guitar (Gordon Lightfoot as well). The haunting introduction to Sad Lisa was the very first thing I learned to play on piano. It's interesting how seemingly small events at various inflection points in our lives ultimately have a very large impact on the course of our lives.
I mention all this as a way of celebrating the powerful ways in which music and images can inspire at the moment of their inception and still shake loose old memories and emotions 30 years later. Your images certainly have captured many iconic people and times and it was wonderful to take the journey back with you to revisit these times, places, and people and hear your stories about them as you committed them indelibly to our mind's eye though your own. Hope to see you in the spring.
- Steve & Laura Barker -
Peter, I have just spent most of the day and evening watching your DVD.I think you did a great job. The 10 tips at the end (on the bonus track) are marvelous. You gave an aspiring photographer the ultimate guide to making good pictures.Well done !
- Dirck Halstead -
I've had the pleasure to know Peter Simon since the late 60's. I was his best man when he married in 1977. I have produced many documentaries for various media outlets through the years. Objectively, I honestly say that Peter's vast, luminous oeuvre of photographs gives everyone a rich, honest picture of iconic moments in recent history, from Dylan to RFK to people like you, while infusing every single picture with the pulse of real life and the stark polarities of life in the 20th and 21st centuries. If you want to deepen your understanding of recent history, go Through The Lens and enjoy.
- David Silver -
I hope you didn't get covered in too much snow this weekend on the vineyard. Being snowed in from the storm allowed me to carve some time out and finally finish the DVD! I still think everything came out spectacular. From the outside looking in, you have certainly had one awesome and intriguing life. I think my favorite chapters were "A Look into My Father's Eyes" and "Country Comforts". It was fascinating to hear all about the hippie commune... its very different than anything I have or will experience. Even "Decent Exposures" and "Searching for the Spirit" were fascinating to listen to and see.... and also hear the story of how you met Ronni. I certainly have learned much about you and now I need to read "Eye and I." The bonus tracks at the end also further my beginner's knowledge of how to create a great photograph. Bravo!!
- Jessica Feiden -
With this piece of work - which must have been so difficult to edit, because you in fact were editing your life and your memories as well as the documentation of both - you have managed to create a perfect picture of an imperfect time. To this day, almost 50 years later, one would be hard pressed to ignore the impact those early days had on social history. The civil rights movement, the student right's movement, the women's movement, the anti-war movement, the back-to-the-land movement (and its attendant offshoots of healthier eating, vegetarianism, organic gardening, ecological awareness, and creative and aware cooking), changing attitudes toward childbirth and child-rearing, and so much more had roots in those years you document.
You were so very fortunate, my friend, to have been present in the moments that helped create this country of ours over the last half century. And you've done a yeoman's task of documenting it for both those of us who happened to fall in step next to you at various stages of your journey, and for everyone else who watched from the sidelines.
Giant hugs to Ronni and to you.
- Catherine Blinder -
Peter, your long awaited DVD is beyond the beyond!
Your natural presence is so engaging, alive, loving and natural
Yes, I love your eye contact
Your script text and your delivery as you're speaking to us through the video camera is very engaging
The melody, tempo, cadence and variation of tonality in your voice are very inviting and interesting
You are so personable!
Your text and images so enriches my history of our generation.
I love your single photographs and I love your multiple-exposure photos
I never realized how many images I already know were taken by you. An honor to know you.
I love that you were in Haight-Ashbuy, even just briefly
The Forrest Gump of the counterculture. Perfect!
I had so much hope for the Occupy movement. Like you and many others, it felt like the resurgence of the 60s. I was very sad it didn't succeed.
I love your hats!
The whole program is put together impeccably
This is far more engaging and deep than "I and Eye."
I'm deeply touched by your honesty - in all chapters, but especially in the chapter about your addiction. Such open vulnerability. I'm so relieved you came back from the brink and are thriving.
You and your videographer have created such a great flow between yourself and the photos.
Those Vineyard photos, wow! - I love the Wisteria. I really love the "horse wedding."
I love the photographic tips you give, even in the non "101" chapters.
Way cool you knew Walter Cronkite. The voice of TRUTH whom people trusted. I miss him.
I love that Jim Morrison puked on you. I'm now even more honored to know you. I get to say to people, "I know someone who Jim Morrison puked on." Hah!
Way cool you knew John Belushi. Another of my heroes. And The Band. And Miles Davis! God!
Peter Simon's "Through the Lens" is both a historic artifact and an amiable
tutorial that reveals what it was like to live in the midst of the
maelstrom that was the 60s, as well as in the residual years of its influence.
Manic and meditative, solo and in vast throngs, naked and clothed like
descended Gods, he watched us as we dove into the mysteries. They're
all here: from Leary to Lewd to the Lord Himself in all their happy
guises, caught at decisive moments by the ever-inquisitive eye of Peter
Simon. In this irresistible career summation, we recognize Peter as the
world-class chronicler of our superannuating Flower generation, a
mirror to our mischievous moods. He even tells us how he does it all, in
clear, folksy instructionals that are this package's welcome bonuses.
- Roger Steffens, Reggae Historian, and author of the forthcoming "Oral
History of Bob Marley" from W. W. Norton-
Finally home safe and sound, (some) work caught up, then anchored in front of TV to explore your videos. Truth be told: we watched them over dinner, could not stop (like being unable to put a good book down) and continued on right through the second until late at night!
I knew (knowing your work) they'd be exceptionally good. I wasn't prepared to discover they were actually great. Beyond seeing your work before my eyes (which I now have done numerous times up close at the Gallery), including those of yours I I've bought, the ones on your website, and through the books purchased these last few years..... the video tied it all together.
They encapsulated how it started and gave more detail as to your Dad's legacy, what he taught you and that vital influence/inspiration/awareness.
I particularly loved how you weaved it all together, not just chronologically, but through the various distinct phases of your life and work. Bravo.
What I wasn't expecting was the degree of honesty you put right on the line. I was quite touched by the brief time working, sharing meals with you, how you were so honest (and trusting) in the personal stories you shared with me. Then your direct on camera monologues, laying much of how you came to certain pivotal points in your life (on that long and winding road) was something I've never seen anyone ever do before on a video..
Perhaps before retouching by pros, then Photoshop, they would say pictures (cameras) don't lie. Your photojournalist life as it reflected each of us so well, doesn't get more true. Your dialogue sitting at that Gallery table, came straight from the heart and mind...... THAT blew me away. The honesty of the real, deeply personal price you paid to do your work and get it out there, has been unmatched by anything else I've experienced. "Courageous" doesn't do it, nor you, justice.
Yes, you are brilliant. Yes, you reflect (Picasso's?) words that "true genius is being able to see the world through the eyes of a child." But you have taken that raw honesty and intrigue with our world, whether natural or man-made, and given it back to us in its most basic beauty.
I can see this work as something we will revisit over and over through the coming years. A truly historic body of work; the kind of thing archivists and historians will search for a hundred years from now. And I personally thank you for giving more of yourself to me as a friend, than I could have ever left on the walls of your Gallery.
- Paul Kellogg -
The Bluenose Opera House (syndicated) radio show.
Mirabai Bush and Ram Dass, 1977
Peter, you are the chronicler of our generation--watching the DVD brought back many images in my mind that were as vivid as your magnificent photos! Although I've known you for 40 years and watched you shoot on the Vineyard beaches, at Bob Marley concerts, and during spiritual lectures on the meaning of life lead by our mutual friend and guru, Ram Dass, I was amazed at the full range - from Jackie Robinson to Lady Gaga to loving portraits of Ronni. I've given it to a 12-year-old friend who is already working at being a good photographer - both the images and your reflections will be truly inspiring. Thank you from all of us!
- Mirabai Bush -
Sister Carly at the piano
Dear one, I watched the CD (the first 7 chapters) and thought it was just terrific.
The photos speak for themselves, but having you talk about them is very warm in nature.
Everything seemed great to me. Thank you for including me. Congratulations!!
- Carly Simon -
Peter's Vineyard Workshops
Tosh Lives On
Hey, Peter. It was just awesome learning photography from you
over Columbus Day weekend. It meant more to me than I could
ever show. Being my father's (Peter Tosh) youngest child, I
have very few memories of him. My mom also has very few pictures
of my Dad, so when I think of my father, often times it are
your iconic photos that pop into my head. You and Ronni have
a wonderfully warm spirit, and I am very grateful for you giving
me this experience. Keep In Touch, Niambe
Les Leland on Dyke Bridge
As a beginning photographer, I am beyond elated with my whole
experience of coming to your workshop. I guess I didn't realize
that you would be sweeping us into your life like you did, allowing
us to participate with you as a famous photographer, and getting
to really know you as a person. When I learned that we were
going to take photos of Les Leland for the promotion of his
new book, Left To Die, I was ecstatic! Meeting the foreman of
the Grand Jury from the Kennedy-Chappaquiddick case, being at
the bridge, and then having it all sent off to the Boston Globe
and printed the next day was so fascinating and forever memorable.
It was also deepened by the experience by having the chance
to talk with Les and hear his story first hand, as though we
were his neighbors.
And if that was not enough, having Niambe Tosh join us as a
student, the daughter of Peter Tosh-- the great reggae musician
- was just over the top. What an honor it was to meet her, get
to know her, and photograph her! This was the first trip I have
made in over two years, as I have been sick with a health condition
known as systemic candida, which is caused by the over prescribing
of antibiotics. This was my first adventure away from home as
I begin to recover, and it propelled me back to life, with engaging
conversations with other students, the enjoyment of nature and
the great outdoors on Martha's Vineyard, and it sparked my creativity
which has been in hiding for some time. Friends and family are
already admiring my photographs from my trip, and want me to
give them tips! Thank you so much, Peter Simon. You are a very
special and gifted gentleman.
- Kathy Kalaf
Experience I had a friend over last night (we watched the wonderful
"The Impassioned Eye" DVD about Cartier-Bresson
- it was a fabulous homage). I was telling him about your
workshop and about you and how charming and congenial your
are - and it struck me that I'd forgotten to write and thank
you for the wonderful and memorable experience I had at this
fall workshop of yours on the Vineyard.
It may have been basic and covering the
fundamentals, but I hope more experienced photography buffs
don't let that stop them from attending your workshops because,
not only are the fundamentals important, but there's always
something to be learned and it's nice to have everyone, no
matter their experience, on the same page from the start.
And you didn't dwell too long on them. You soon danced us
off to a dizzying and thrillingly comprehensive shooting experience
covering everything from landscape to still-life, from portraiture
to journalistic photography. It was also a learning experience
watching how you worked the subject of your photography, whether
with people or with objects or landscapes. It was also tons
Thank you so much! ~ Nancy Eaton
Adventure! We all felt your photography workshop was just outstanding.
You managed to juggle the various skill levels of your students
so well that we all came away feeling greatly improved as
photographers. You made it fun as well as a great Vineyard
adventure. You are an excellent (and patient) teacher. Like
any fine teacher, you found something to praise in
each student’s work. We loved those gold stars! We all
thank you for your time and patience. Seeing your work so
regularly in the gallery and the Gazette makes me very happy
to be living on this special island, and sharing its beauty
along with you.
Gratefully, Jan Peakes
Individual Stories Seldom do things exceed my expectations. Your workshop
Starting Thursday night as a true beginner,
the learning process began. Each photography concept you wished
to share with us unfolded in a warm, cheerful and amusing
You overcame some uncooperative weather
and still managed to make us better photographers. I know
we all feel much better equipped to tell our individual stories
though the lens of the camera.
Thanks for sharing your years of experience
Making Connections The course was great. You were very generous with your
time and knowledge, and packed so many experiences into our
class. We really appreciate it.
I learned far more than I ever expected in a beginning photography
course. I learned that photography is not just about the photos,
but about the person behind the camera, and his relationship
to other people, and his environment. The field trips taught
us how to connect with both the natural landscape, as well as
with the Vineyard community as we observed your interaction
The fact that you shared your 50 year history in photography
with us by showing your work the first evening, was an exiting
intro to the course.
Class size (5) was ideal. We got a lot of individual instruction
and help in setting up shots and using our cameras.
I highly recommend the course. We had the finest instructor
and the perfect Vineyard experience all rolled up in one.
Thanks, Cathy Bellino ( the tall dark haired one with the Don
King hair-do and neon yellow sweater)
What a fantastic experience your photography workshop was! My daughter Calla, 16, with the world ahead of her yet not always clear about which way to go, thrived in this class. She could have stayed all summer long! This can be a confusing time for a person that age, and the people they come in contact with can make all the difference in the world. Your mentorship was invaluable.
Photography has always been of special interest to her, which led me to seek out opportunities for her to explore this passion. After looking at a number of workshops off island, none of them seemed as intimate, educational and interesting as yours. The wide range of ages as well as talents made for an even greater learning environment. It was important for her to participate in a class that would build upon her present photography skills with additional focus on mechanics and technique while having a lot of fun. All of that being said, we still never anticipated anything like this.
Calla walked into your class alone - not knowing a soul. You welcomed this young person into your group and opened her eyes to what your life as a professional artist is really about: hard work, dedication and passion. That in and of itself was probably the most valuable lesson she took away with her. I thank you more than words can possibly express.
This hands-on workshop far exceeded our expectations. Calla may very well fall somewhere within the arts. To say that she was incredibly inspired by this experience does not begin to do justice to her level of enthusiasm for each day of your class. Even the sunrise photo shoot! You have pulled together a really special learning opportunity - in particular, for a kid thinking about college. You ignited something real within her and given her confidence to approach other experiences outside of her comfort zone. For this more than anything else, I thank you so very much.
Discovering the Vineyard
This past summer on the Vineyard will forever go down in my mind as the summer that I met Peter Simon. I came across his book "I and Eye" by chance and by the last page I had decided that I needed to meet this man. The next day I went to his gallery and introduced myself and he informed me of the photo course that he teaches every summer. I signed up and within a week or two it was time for our first meeting. Each session was an adventure, and as kind of a "noob" to the island, I was introduced to some of the most amazing beaches and sights that I have ever seen, and that I will forever return to each time I go back to the Vineyard. Whether it was a 5am sunrise photo shoot, an afternoon at the gallery learning shooting techniques, or a class dinner out in Oak Bluffs after a day of photographing, everyone was always having a good time. It was a true pleasure to be able to partake in this course and to be able to get to know this fascinating and kind man, Peter Simon. I recommend it highly to anyone who loves taking pictures and loves Martha's Vineyard. It doesn't matter if you picked up photography 3 days ago or 3 years ago - you'll still learn some new techniques, and you'll have a great time. - Danny
Learning Can Be Fun
Thanks again for a fabulous workshop! In addition to learning a lot, I really had fun--were this always the case in a learning situation. I met all my goals and then some, and I really liked your approach to presenting and sequencing the key concepts, skills, and application opportunities.
I'm looking forward to going back through all my pictures, especially the ones you liked best, to do some more editing and enhancing--as soon as I make my way through the mail, the laundry, the list, and all the other backlog!
All the best to you and Ronni.
Hey Peter - thanks - these are fantastic photos - what great memories!
I cannot tell you just how much I enjoyed your workshop and more importantly how much I learned from you. I will always get that "peaceful easy feeling" whenever I think about my time on the vineyard and your photography workshop. You have an incredible gift of imparting your knowledge and experience in a totally unassuming manner. I thoroughly enjoyed our time together and in retrospect I realize just how much I was learning while simply absorbing the vineyard and your generous spirit.
On a personal note, I will always cherish your appreciation of the alpaca photo I took of you during our workshop. I cannot tell you just how nervous I was when you handed me your camera and I am so grateful that I was able to capture you in the spirit that I saw you that day. That is a memory that will always bring a smile to my face - whenever I see YOUR smiling face.
I will be forwarding some more photos of you shortly but wanted to let you know just how much I appreciate your generous nature and your pure loving spirit.
Hoping our paths cross again -
Terri (one of the Jersey girls)
In October my wife Terri and her friend, Carol, collectively known as the "Jersey Girls", attended your fall photography workshop. Since their return, they have not stopped talking about the fun they had and how much they learned from you. It was by far the best workshop they have attended! They thoroughly enjoyed your relaxed style and are amazed by your body of work and all of the iconic photos you have taken throughout your career, which brings me to the purpose of this message.
Both Terri and Carol are huge James Taylor fans and have all of his albums, CDs etc whatever they are called today. Terri has always loved the cover of the One Man Dog album and since you took that photograph I have a favor to ask.. I have managed to obtain two copies of the album cover already signed by JT and was wondering if I sent them to you would you also autograph them. An album cover signed by the music and photography artists would make a great Christmas present for each of them and would be a permanent momento of your workshop and the time they spent with you at the Vineyard. If you are willing and able to do this, please provide an address where I can send the album covers and I will include a return postage envelope.
Thank you for your time and have a great Thanksgiving.
It was Christmastime last year that I emailed you to tell you that you were my best Christmas present, and this year as I look back, my workshop with you is one of the things I am most thankful for. For me it was a true vacation in every sense of the word. It took me out of this time and place. While being on The Vineyard is always a break from life as I know it, being among your photographs also made me feel as if I had time-traveled back through the times of my life. And what a lovely group of people to spend time with. I think your spirit makes that happen.
I can not tell you how often I have heard your voice when I am behind the camera. I learned so much technique from you, and I use it as I shoot and as I critique photos taken by others. I thank you for that knowledge, and for your hospitality in sharing your favorite places, your wonderful home among them.
Incidentally, a photo that I took the night your class ended was accepted into a juried show, and sold more than once, so your inspiration took effect immediately! I have just ordered one of your calendars and a poster for myself, and your Menemsha photo as a gift for my sister, when gifted me your workshop. I plan to stop in by the gallery anytime I'm on the island, to collect my hugs!
Thanks again for a wonderful life experience that I will always treasure.
Carol (October workshop 2011)
"A Good Teacher's Voice" Hi Peter,
I just wanted to show you this recent photograph because I feel that it is a direct result of your teaching. It was really sub-conscious - putting the person within the light trail to frame her. Terry saw it, and while we were talking we both realized that this was the lesson that you taught us at the fishing contest out on Chappy. See that? A good teacher's voice always rings in your head, whether or not you are conscious of it!
Revelations! Hi Peter,
Your workshop was MOST DEFINITELY one of the 'moments' for me ... a definite highlight, if you will... and a memory I will hold onto and cherish. Gosh, I learned a lot, and without trying I left your little island seeing things a little differently, and feeling more open to my creative 'nature' rather than what I believed others expected from my work. I feel the camera captures the soul - not figuratively, but in essence. It hold THAT moment, keeps it, shares, it, and if done right, allows you to feel it from simply standing on the other side. You work has done that and shown that to me.... and now I feel secure in trusting my inner-eye photographer .... oh, and I LIKE IT! I found this before actually, but had difficulty expressing it, so ... thank you, as my confidence has grown in this area, and it is much in part because you and your insight, your sharing, and your patience.
In addition, not only do I feel I have the beginnings of an amazing friendship with you, and several fantastic others from my group - I feel I have found a sort of mentor, and I am very honored to have that chance.
Life is funny, I think we should all learn to trust in the truth that there is always something new and beautiful around the corner .... breathe...... oh, and for Heaven's sake! ...bring your camera!
Thank you Peter, for everything.
Be well ... and, as you say, ONE LOVE!
Portraits, and Family Photos
An Intimate Reminder
We just brought home "Timeless Moment" from the framer
and are overwhelmed by what an intimate and powerful reminder
of our wedding you captured. It is such a pleasure to be able
to relive all of the varied emotions of our wedding with all
these amazing photos.
Thank you for this priceless gift of your time and talent. We
will extremely lucky to have had you, a photographer of such
prominence, capture our glorious day forever.
Becky & Josh
Times of the Days
Our family savors many happy memories captured in photographs
by Peter Simon over the years. Peter took photographs at our
wedding, family portraits through the years, headshots for my
daughter, and larger, extended family portraits. Each time,
he has taken care to set up the shots with a careful eye to
many details, including the time of day for lighting, and the
composition of everyone together in the scene.
Peter also takes lovely spontaneous pictures, such as at our
wedding, when he captured friends and family laughing and dancing.
Peter's style is really nice, good-humored and relaxed, which
I find special and unique in a photographer, especially at those
times when we are trying to get an extended family photograph,
with children running around! My husband and I are reassured
to know that we can count on Peter to get great shots.
Decades and Generations
Peter has been photographing our family on an annual basis
since he mid 80's. He has somehow never failed to out
do himself each year. He is so careful to choose just
the perfect place, the right light, and has an uncanny
ability to pose us in such a way that we all seem informal
relaxed, even if we aren't! His charismatic personality
matched with his amazing technical skill, and immaculate
attention to details, make his documentations of our family
really special. We now have a virtual treasure trove of
timeless images and memories that will last for many generations
A Philbin Family
Peter, we wanted you to know how special that photo shoot was
at Philbin Beach - a great spot. The pictures were amazing -
as usual. We treasure all of the photos you have taken of our
family over the past 16 years. We have a number of them framed
around the house. Each time we use one on a holiday card, we
receive a lot of positive comments.Thanks for capturing the
warmth and character of our family so successfully. You are
the best! With affection,
Sally and Peter Mead
Happiness via USPS
Just wanted to let you know we received our disk and photos
today in the mail. And we LOVED THEM! They are truly beautiful!
We all look so happy and relaxed. We also are unable to see
Ben's cast. Thank you! You did a fabulous job and we are not
surprised! You are truly a gifted photographer and we feel so
lucky that are path's in life crossed and you were able to capture
the happiest days of our lives.
Till next time, Cathy, Jim, John, Michael and Ben Mazzara
It's easier for me to write novels than to be photographed!
I've always been stiff and self-conscious in front of the camera.
Then I had the clever inspiration to ask Peter Simon to take
my author photographs. I love his brilliantly artistic eye,
his sense of composition, his experience and ease, and his inimitable
way of making me comfortable while he works. I don't trust anyone
but Peter to do my professional shoots, as well as cherished
photographs of Vineyard days with family and friends. He's simply
Linda Fairstein, Novelist
Children of the Beach
Peter - I would like to thank you for the fabulous job that
you did capturing the spirit of my grandchildren... the pictures
of Connor and Fiona are wonderful ... you brought so much life
to the photos ...I will always remember that sunset and beautiful
beach... we will definitely do this again...
The Jazz of Light
I am SO pleased with the photos! Everyone who has seen them
think that they are fabulous. The tree photo (I've been referencing
it to my friends as 'the money shot'- it's so good, it's priceless)
is simply stunning. My colleagues are blown away by it. I can't
believe how good you made me look in both shoots. The shot will
add a lot of substance and intrigue to my CD project!
Mark Gionfriddo, Director, Jazz Ensembles of Mount Holyoke College
I have been looking through the pictures that you did for us
last week. I cannot express to you my emotions when I look at
these photos. I feel as if this vacation will always be with
us and the memories have been somehow captured. Thank you, thank
you for sharing your gift. I know I will always have these pictures
Chris is so excited to have shared conversation with someone
who traveled with the Grateful Dead. Forget that you are a world
class photographer. He loved speaking with you and is absolutely
sky high after talking to you about his favorite music. You
were so kind to give him the CD. Thank you so much. Again, thank
you for providing the highlight of the trip!
To understand the genius of Peter Simon's photography, all you have to do is look at his photographs! He captures the beauty of nature and the personality of the families and individuals he photographs. Peter has provided an annual photograph of our family for over 20 years and he always seems to find a new location, angle and pose! Thank you, Peter!
The Lens Lecture
Hosting a Lecture
To Whom It May Concern:
We had the pleasure of hosting Peter Simon's lecture - "Through the Lens: A Life Filled with Friendship, History and Addiction" in our Delray Beach, FL gallery on March 7th and 8th, 2014. This was a personal and entertaining journey of stories and anecdotes and a very moving account of Peter's own ups and downs. We had an overwhelming response with both nights having "standing room only" attendance and Peter receiving a standing ovation at the end of his lecture.
Peter's "down to earth" and insightful narrative coupled with fantastic images connected with the audience and generated much discussion and questions after the presentation as well as for days to follow. His book, "Eye and I," was a resounding hit and many of our clients purchased a book and had Peter sign and dedicate their own copy after the lecture.
I would highly recommend the Peter Simon lecture series to anyone who wants a unique and memorable experience.
General Manager - Gallery Operations
The Pop Culture Vault
Peter proudly displays his new print, "The Beast," with staff at Pop Culture Vault in Delray Beach, Florida.
Isle Hi, Peter, I just wanted to say a couple of things
One, we not only enjoyed meeting both of you, but wish to once
again thank you for the lovely photos of Kathy. You put her
right at ease and got some really good moments, meaning that
these photos will always be special to us.
Beyond all that, although I had been to the Vineyard with my
son several times before and for longer duration (before I had
met Kathy), I actually never really did meet anyone else. Later
on, once again, except for the owners of the place we rented,
Kathy and I really didn't have much contact with others (reading,
hiking, showing her around the towns and quiet spots), we really
didn't get to know anyone. As trivial as that sounds, may you
know that running into Ronni and you at the gallery and just
the way the two of you make others feel welcome and interesting,
made our short visit memorable. Yes, I love the history, architecture,
rolling meadows, woods and beaches of the Island, but the two
of you breathed life into it for us. Now when I think of that
brief week, I think of the two of you.
Secondly, our background similarities made me feel immediately
comfortable around you, and my own life's work (not unlike
yours in it's creativity) gave me a sense of the things you've
lived through, the gifts (talent) you've developed, and in
some areas the price both of us have paid just to get this
far. Don't know if I'm making any sense to you, but I so appreciate
your work and even more, your demeanor. When I said goodbye
to you, I felt like I had known you far longer, and also wished
that I had met you much further back down the road.
Paul Kellogg, Nova Scotia
Peter, I'm happy to give feedback on your program aboard the
Celebrity Cruise ship to the tropics last month. Needless to
say, I was happy to see in the daily schedule that you were
speaking not only about your photography but also about your
addiction and recovery. Two subjects I'm passionate about! You
were very engaging and really was able to connect with the group.
You have a way of talking to a group of people but it feels
as if you are talking one on one......if that makes sense! I
appreciated the 'details' of your photography as that is something
I enjoy doing but have no confidence in my work! And, the photographs
you shared were really of interest to everyone. The group was
diverse in terms of age and gender but you had a nice grouping
of photos that appealed to all. I'm also a therapist so I appreciated
the background information you shared concerning how your life
contributed to your love of photography! In short, I think your
program was excellent. I think it is the best cruise enhancement
program I've seen but then, I have to share with you......that
was our first cruise ever! ha! How lucky for me that I chose
the cruise with you as a speaker!!! Let's stay in touch and
possibly look at 2009 for Circle of Hope! Thanks
Leesa Smith, MA
Peter Simon was by far one of the most engaging speakers that
we’ve ever had at Babson College! By sharing his personal
experiences, Peter was able to truly connect with the audience.
I think that his message got through to a lot of students. The
photographs were also amazing—they helped paint a more
vivid picture of his life and history in general. Peter Simon
was a huge hit and we would welcome him back to Babson at any
Michaela Malloy, Babson College
I don't know why this showed up finally on my screen saver,
but I'm so glad to be able to e-mail you. Your photos are the
most beautiful of the Cape that I have seen, well, perhaps ever.
I inherited this computer, screen saver, etc. when I took this
job, and thankfully, your work was on it. I love your photography,
absolutely love it.
Assoc. Editor, Cape Cod VIEW
I want to thank you so much for coming to Austin, Texas to present
your amazing story and body of photography work in Sid Richardson
Hall at the University of Texas. As a reggae photographer and
radio dj, I have long admired your work. Your presentation inspired
me beyond words. Photography is not just the eye of the camera,
but the 'I' of the presenter. I remember your amazing photos
as they first appeared in some of the best known reggae books
ever published. I was stunned by your ability to capture everyday
private moments of people who were gigantic musical icons at
the time. What was so incredibly exciting was how this presentation
broadened my appreciation of your eloquent work due to the scope
and variety of subject matter which went beyond the music. Growing
up in the same generation gave me tremendous insight into what
you must have been feeling when taking such impassioned shots.
The feeling of those treasured moments instantaneously returned
as I visually travelled the sentimental journey of the past
to the present.
I was also incredibly touched by your humble and forthright
discussions. Art is all encompassing. Your style and illingness
to share precious personal aspects of your life embellished
the sensual nature of the photographs and made the experience
an interactive personal exchange. Your natural ability to be
inclusive of all is one of special skills that make your presentation
stand out from other photographers who merely deliver in a cut
and dry manner. I am so pleased the University of Texas embraced
the idea of bringing you to our city and I hope you will consider
coming back in the future. Even more, I hope one day to sit
and talk in further depth about your life and art. Give thanks,
Director of Mission Support, National Cancer Information Center
I attended your lecture on Tuesday night at UT. I bought your
book yesterday, and I love it. I've already shared it with my
friends. I wanted to thank you for your honesty, not only in
your lecture, but also in your book. I think that it carries
over into your photos, and gives them a great sense of intimacy.
I'm just starting out in photography, but lectures like yours
inspire me to keep at it. Thank you so much for making it down
to Austin. I hope you loved our great city, come back again!!!
A Life Documented Mr. Simon,
First of all, I want to thank you for coming and speaking at
UT. I found your lecture to be by far the most enjoyable one
I've experienced. Not only were your photographs amazing and
admirable, but your personality and wit made for a very pleasurable
lecture! You made me realize that I should document my own life
and what is going on through photographs. Thanks again,
Full Tilt Cycle
I attended your presentation last night in Austin, Texas and
I just wanted you to know that you're presentation was beautiful.
I envy the lifestyle you had, full of love and excitement. I
am happy your story, thus far, has a happy ending. I wish I
could have known you back in the day and I wish I could know
you now. I am sure you are full of life experiences that only
few people have and I am excited to buy your book to read about
them. I just wanted to write you to let you know that you're
speech last night moved me and inspired me not only to be a
better photographer but a more joyful, peaceful, loving person.
Stephanie D. Loredo
Hello Mr. Simon,
I am a film student and a photographer. I can't tell you how
much I enjoyed your photographs and the stories behind them.
My father is a recovering alcoholic and drug user and your insight
about addiction was very moving. You have lived an amazing life
and met some of the people that I could only dream about or
listen to. Just thinking about meeting and befriending people
like Jerry Garcia, Tim Leary, and John Lennon seems like some
fantasy world to me. I would love to hear some of the stories
that reside in your mind. Thanks for coming to UT, it was truly
The Wonders of Technology Peter: I just finished watching your lecture to your photo workshop students which is being broadcast on MVTV. I saw it on my computer here in Florida! Ah, the wonders of technology!
Your family must be so proud you were able to share so much of your life with the general population. You are so creative and have had much diversity in your life.
I too have spent time in Brattleboro, VT; but at cattle auctions in my teens with my Dad! Was your favorite cow a Brown Swiss?
I was married in 1959, still married to the same man, and missed much of the action you experienced so I thank you for sharing it. The 60's and 70's were such formative times. I have read your books and the information put forth many times. Now I can appreciate them more with the additional explanations you presented. It was wonderful; however long. I had much to do today but could not tear myself away from the computer once I started watching you.
As this year marks the 18th calendar I have from you, it must be a true sign of good luck and peace (CHAI).
I certainly will mention your website and activities to the art department at Rollins College. It would be wonderful if you could be an artist in residence or give a lecture as many of the art students focus on photography these days. You are an amazing spokesman and chronicler of your generation!
Subject: THANK YOU ! THANK YOU ! THANK YOU!
We were so happy to be included in Thursday's reception. The evening was absolutely magical and we had such a great time. And as if that were not a big enough treat, we were just overwhelmed by the delivery of Peter Simon's incredible book and inscription! My kids came over Saturday to celebrate three family birthdays and Chris and Sandra's anniversary, and they enjoyed the photographs almost as much as I did. Although they were not children of the 60's it was a great reminder of the environment they grew up in because their mom was! So if you talk to Peter please tell him that his book has already exceeded it's intended effect -- having provided a very nostalgic evening for all our generations!
I really didn't know what to expect when I agreed to host a reception for my clients and friends featuring you as the guest speaker.
After the event - I wasn't "pleasantly surprised", I wasn't "quite satisfied", I wasn't even "extremely impressed" - I WAS AWESTRUCK.
There are very few times in one's life that they are in the presence of true genius. Last Thursday was one of those times for me and the other 60 people who were privileged to hear (and see) your life in such honest and powerful hues and tones.
Thank you for sharing your photographs, your stories and your soul with us.
Subject: your work has literally given me peace of mind...
As I am always reminding myself, the Universe takes care of us. We are the Universe, all connected and able to provide comfort to some one without even being aware. Meeting you last weekend in Richmond, Va was just what I needed. It was perfect timing and gave me the peace of mind that I have been searching for.
Looking deep into each of your photographs, I was instantly overcome with emotion and tears began running down my face. I stood there, letting myself feel this emotion, and at that moment I knew that everything was going to be ok for me. I am going through a divorce, and your art spoke to me on so many different levels. Each photograph made me realize (in it's own special way) that there is so much out there that I haven't seen or experienced. So much beauty that I've missed out on. And also, so much community that I desperately need.
This past weekend in Richmond, where I saw your exhibit and heard you speak, made me feel that the Universe literally wrapt her arms around me, and for the first time in a long time I felt heard and cherished and needed and apart of something so much bigger than I ever imagined. I can't wait to start this new life, and get to know myself and love myself in a way that I hadn't before. I can't wait to explore, to see what's out there, and most of all - find peace.
Thank you for opening my eyes to the beauty that surrounds us.
A Bond is Formed
Your history, your story is compelling and I am grateful for the
telling. Your presentation yesterday was authentic and simple and open.
Bless you for that. I am not religious, though there is a story
there too, one which I hope one day, we can share on the island where
my daughter was married by my wife. I would love that time, and to be
mentored by your vision, both for your photographic eye and your inner
My passion now, as it has always been for my lifetime, continues to be
my photography, which I also learned from my father at the same age as
you did. When my life's partner and soul mate died after 44 years of
marriage, I was devastated. I am renewed by my passion for the image,
the message it brings, the joy it presents for the beholder, and the
harmony and love it restores, and the jolt it brings to reality. I
rejoice in your work and the messages it sends. Thank You!
Thanks, Peter, for your authenticity, your openness, and your gifts to
the world. May they listen. A Golden Gate Dahlia awaits your pleasure.
Peter & Martin
here's the pic of you with your photo of Martin. Not in great focus... but still my fav...Just a snapshot... but what a shot... can't believe you got to hear him speak in person!! Wow!! And we got to hear you talk about it!!! Thanks again.
The books arrived today in perfect shape... Thanks for sending them out so fast!... and the inscriptions are wonderful!! Thank you very much for that as well. You will make two artists VERY happy ... I can't wait til my "little" brother (he's only 4 years younger) gets his book and reads the inscription!! Super!
Takle care and keep in touch! ...oh, and our holiday greetings to you and yours.
Pamela and Eric
Thank you for a fun day and a window into your world.
I felt honored to be able to check in with you and see your work and meet your wife, not only as a new friend with similar ambitions, but as a sober member of AA, living with a conscious contact of truth on a daily basis. This, my friend, is what recovery is: being available for another alcoholic, celebrating life on life's terms, and seeing the beauty in what is.
Your work is a historical photo-journalistic essay of one of the most significant periods of time our country has experienced not only because of the legendary musicians, their work and their independent explorations, and your personal perspective through your lens, but because of the development of our nation, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam protests, and all of the existential exploration that perhaps our good friend Thoreau laid the groundwork for 100 years earlier.
It is perhaps because of all of this mix that the fine music of the 60's and 70's had depth, experimentation, and voice that we still cherish today.
May our current and future musicians not get locked up in the black hole of marketing, but take note and carry the torch of existential individuality, independent and collective protest, personal spiritual evolution, and develop their own voices accordingly...for who are we if we cannot stand up against the masses and speak truth which is so often hidden in propaganda and materialism?
You, in your own way, Peter, have carried the torch and spread the imagery, the emotion, the voice, and the tone of the past 50 years and are now in a position to teach others to carry it forward. How lovely...
As we move further into this political year, let us delve further in true substance:
what the great leaders of past peace movements and conscious thought have taught us, pushing their ideas forward to inspire the vitality of the next generation and morally question unjust causes. Our next generations are going to need all the tools they can accumulate to move consciousness forward in a productive, sustainable and meaningful way.
Lastly, I wanted to wish you good luck with the sales and the entire experience of the exhibit and look forward to your teachings in July at Martha's Vineyard.
May we see the good in all we do and may we celebrate the further development of that consciousness within ourselves as an healing example to others.
Subject: aloha from Randall on Maui
Aloha Peter ... I just wanted to send you some aloha!
I finished reading and thoroughly enjoying your book... thank you so very much. Yours is a very rich and educational story and I am honored to have read it and had the opportunity to share some time with you here on Maui. My wife Shari and I also enjoyed your talk and slide show at the temple of peace... if was so very intimate that we felt we were visiting you in your living room and that we have been friends for ages.
Mahalo for the lens into your life and for including us.
It was also our pleasure to meet the love of your life Ronni ... beautiful jewelry too.
w/ many blessings and mucho aloha
Randall ... and Shari too!
The Vineyard, and More!
Hot off the Press Review - Photography Workshop
I really feel special being the "first" in your one on one series! I remember when my friend Terri came back from
one of your week long classes raving about what a great time she had making me want to do the same thing. Then you
offered your one on one class and I was thrilled. I was even more thrilled when my husband said " do it"!
Once over my admiration of you (I'm not really over it :) I began to realize your talent and capabilities as a teacher. For one -
forget technology! You actually teach how to take the picture right the first time - not how to correct it on screen! I have to say that
was a bit of a shock which I loved. Now I really think about what I'm shooting and how I want to present it to those looking at my work, instead of
"I can fix that in Lightroom or Photoshop".
To me that was the largest take away from your class - next to being with someone who is as warm and fun as you are. Now I think more
seriously about my subject. I think more seriously about the space I'm using. I think about presenting my work in a more professional light rather
than "thats a good photo - wonder if someone will buy it". You made me want to care more about what I am doing and to do it better.
So, I am looking forward to more interesting and more professional photos in the future and I have you to thank for that.
Did I love your class? You bet I did!!
Hoping to have a cup of Joe with you next time we are on the Vineyard.. My regards to Ronni
Mary Louise Loyd
Back to Summers
on the Isle
You have no idea how much your work has touched my heart, and
my soul. Your passion for photography is overwhelming, as is
your talent. I purchased your "Eye and I" book, and
I am ordering your calendar, and reggae book. Being 47, married,
and the parent of six - all adopted minorities - ranging in
age from 3 to 19, your work takes me away - back to summers
on Martha's Vineyard - what a trip! Thank you, thank you - may
you be richly rewarded for your gifts.
Best of Screensavers
My order arrived today and as always am amazed by Peter's
work. Will be playing the cd as soon as I log off,but wanted
to say how tremendous the screensaver is. Like have the "Best
Of Peter Simon" on my screen! Thanks so much for making
Hoops with Modigliani
On off chance that you don't get too many email notes to read,
I wanted to tell you of my delight at my son's delight with
items I mailed him at his new residence at grad school in NC.
Of course I sent a calendar to get on his wall as soon as he
moved in. Then, from last week's Gazette's "sports page",
fabulous silhouette photo of basketball players at Modigliani
benefit at community center. Rafe recognized profiles of guys
he has played b-ball with for many years, and it is a magnificent
photo. Thank you for supplying just the right things for a mother
to send her "Vineyard kid" when starting grad school
in strange new area of the country.
All best wishes, Mary Beth
20 Years of the
I first went to Martha's Vineyard in 1988 with my then boyfriend
(now husband) Eric. His family built a summer home in Chilmark
in the 1970s so he was lucky enough to spend his childhood summers
on the Vineyard. Anyway, I fell in love with the Island, Bunch
of Grapes Bookstore, and your calendar. Eric and I married in
1989, and we have been back every summer since (now with our
2 daughters), and every year since Santa has brought me your
Martha's Vineyard Calendar for Christmas. Imagine my pleasure
when I went to hang my 2008 calendar up on New Year's Day and
I noticed all the covers pictured from the past 20 years. What
a beautiful memento, especially since I had all of those calendars
too. It evoked many, many happy memories. Thank you for your
work these past 20 years. I look forward to 20 more!
Bringing It Back Dear Peter,
I have admired your work for 25 years! I have several of your
calendars and 2 of your beautiful books. Thank you for enriching
my life for the past 20 years with your beautiful images. I
visited Martha's Vineyard in 1987 and 88 and fell in love with
its' beauty. I hope to return someday soon for another visit.
Liz Marshall :)
And now for something
dear peter simon,
i'm not really sure who i am writing to, if you will read this
stupid letter yourself or if this will just end up in a box
that nobody ever even opened (i do trust You, but i am a sceptic
of technology), but i like to address it to you.
all i want is to communicate to you my appreciation for your
work, that i have just had a chance to know through your book
i and eye (pictures of my generation), bought for five pounds
in a dusty bookshop in london.
i'm just twenty, amatour photographer and dreamer, big dreamer.
i mostly dream of being born again somewhere in the states in
the fifties, and i dream of being a photographer, anywhere and
in any time. all i love is in that book, pictures, first of
all, and that music, the culture of counterculture, ideas aboput
the world and the will to be part of it in an active way.
i really just want to thank you for those images and for reminding
me of some people i will ever know, but who are like mothers
and fathers to me, hippies and gurus, and i'm not being naive...
i still believe in you people. there are still some around today
like you, you know?
I received your poster "Chilmark Morning" and I wanted to let you know how much joy it brings me. I have placed it so it is the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning. It makes me happy. I have visited the Vineyard every summer for 20 years. It is the highlight of my year. I try to keep things around my house that remind me of the feelings I have when I am there. Your photo evokes those lovely feelings. Thanks for sharing your work with us!