This two-DVD set is packed with over 300 images and behind-the-scenes anecdotes. Fourteen chapters (each of which can be viewed separately) follow a "Forest Gump-esque" timeline of Peter's career.
"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
"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!"
"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
"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
"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
"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
"Hi Peter, 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." -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!" -Richard Shane
"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
"Hi Peter, 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
"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
"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
“I just finished watching your DVD Through the Lens – it is fabulous!!!!!!! It made me think a lot about my life with so many similarities to what you experienced, including - in no particular order -
· Growing up in Brattleboro, VT with exposure to the communes in Guilford and Putney and Putney college – while you were in Guilford!
· My first car which was a Volvo in Vermont – just like yours in Guilford
· Seeing so many Grateful Dead shows I have no idea how many – way over 50
· The Mets in 86 – I was a Red Sox fan living in Boston and we had some shirts made that said “F… The Mets” and proudly wore them to the games but you know the results
· My many visits to Jamaica where I ventured into the heartland and even danced on stage in Negril at a Culture concert – the only white boy on that stage for sure
· The Bob Marley shows where he was amazing – the first one in Burlington, VT
· The lighthouse where youtook some spectacular photos of my daughter and family
· Sunsets in Mememsha – and this year at Lake Tashmoo
· And I loved the way you finished with your version of the Dead song "The Wheel" - a great musical ending
I could go on for much longer but I will finish with a simple thanks so much for bringing back the memories. We certainly were lucky to be born at the right time, huh?"
"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." -Niambe Tosh
"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
"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 of fun!" -Nancy Eaton
"Seldom do things exceed my expectations. Your workshop did that.
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 climate.
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 with us." -Paul Pohl
"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 with them.
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." - Cathy Bellino
"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.
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
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!" -Tracy
"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." -Andy
"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 hug!
Thanks again for a wonderful life experience that I will always treasure!" -Carol
"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!" -Carol
"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!" - Julie
Weddings, Portraits and Family Photos
Dear Peter....Wow, what a wedding! We had WAY too much fun. We never danced, cried and smooched more in our lives. Thank you so much for being there with us, and showering us with your love and happiness on our special day. God - the photos you took, basically unannounced, are beautiful. We watched them as a whole family last week on the big screen. We kept the slide show on repeat for three hours....no joke! We talked about the whole weekend and relived the emotions all over again through tears and laughs. You took my absolute favorite shots of the whole thing. The candids and your uncanny eyes are unbelievable! You just really nailed it, and deeply captured the beauty of the day and all our beloveds. I can't thank you enough for giving us more than photographs, you gave us memories that I can hold on to forever. The one of me looking up at my Dad as we walked down the isle, hugging my Mom after she unveiled me, Dad dancing (in his suspenders!), Maria showing off her "Mark" tattoo, and flower girls dropping their red petals to match their hair...these images mean so much to everyone and always will. I'm going to need a lot of picture frames!
We just love you!
Julianne and Maryanne
"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
"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." -The Days
"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 to come." -The Sullivans
"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!" -Sally and Peter Mead
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. " -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 the best."
-Linda Fairstein, Novelist
"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..." -Pat Horgan
"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 with me.
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!" -Karen Murphy
"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!" -Jeri
"Hi Pete, I hope this finds you feeling well, and that you and Ronni had lovely holidays. I'm sending my best prayers for a healthy new year for you. I just wanted to write to tell you that I have gotten so many compliments on our holiday card this year with the photos you took of us last summer. I'm assuming you saw the card, and that I used three of your photos. Anyway I am very grateful for those shots of us all and I particularly love the ones of Steve and I and of me and my girls.So thank you again so much for your talent. You did something to make us look better than we actually do! See you next season.
Sending love and gratitude,
Through The Lens Lecture Series
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." -Jason Cornely, General Manager of Gallery Operations at The Pop Culture Vault
"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
"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
"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 time!" -Michaela Malloy
"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." -North Cairn, 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," -Beverly Shaw, 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!!!" -Teresa Mioli
"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," -Maisey Edwards
"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. Thank you." -Stephanie D. Loredo
"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!" -Barbara Gold
"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!" -Allie
"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." -Bill
"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." -Kara
"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 eye.
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." -Craig
"Hi Peter! 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." -Karen
"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." -Randall and Shari
It began as a typical after dinner ritual of watching “Chronicle” a local show which offers previews of places to go, good food places and artists. It was then that I was first introduced to Peter Simon from Martha’s Vineyard and his photography. I was interested in the man and his work and thought that he might be a perfect candidate for the annual banquet of the Cape Cod Viewfinders Camera Club. I did some research, contacted Peter and worked with him to agree on a presentation of his work.
Peter arrived with computer in hand, a bright smile and a sincere willingness to share his lifelong work with a group of dedicated Cape Cod Photographers. His two hour presentation containing 300+ photographs kept us all enthralled from beginning to end. The images were great and the stories that went along with each one provided us with an interesting background narrative.
The immediate response was overwhelmingly positive from the audience. Peter graciously answered both technical and personal questions bringing his audience back to long forgotten memories of people, places, events and the music of our times.
Thank you Peter for providing us with a wonderful evening that will stay with us for a long time.
President, Cape Cod Viewfinders Camera Club
Calendars, The Vineyard and more!
Peter, all we can say is WOW! After five years of never knowing how to decorate our living room, we are now totally enveloped in the glory of the Vineyard and your brilliant photographs. Our home in Arlington (Mass.) is now complete. I'm so glad that we spent so much time in your gallery carefully choosing exactly which prints would compliment our color scheme. We now feel we can be on the Vineyard virtually everyday! Thank you for sharing your incredible gift and talent with us!
"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!!" -Mary Louise Loyd
"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." -Barb Keiser
"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." -Mary Beth
"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!" -Lori DiCaprio-Lee
"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!" -Martha Levine and Marty Kaminsky
"Peter, I've been waiting four months for your new magnum opus, "To Everything There is a Season." That's the hardest part! I'm so happy you like the preview copy. I know if you were blown away, we will be as well 10x so. I know you take great pride in your work and rightly so. You are a meticulous craftsman and artist. Because of you, when I'm on the island I never leave the house without a camera. You never know when you'll see something fleeting and special - that Decisive Moment. And Peter....I really miss your show, "Private Collection" on the radio. When you were on MVY, you were always listened to. I planned my Sunday evenings around it. You educated me, you not only led me to to Reggae but to all of Jamaica's wonderful musical heritage and opened me to all the music of the Caribbean. It was fantastic, I learned a lot from your radio show. It was the real thing. And thank you for sharing your precious archives. Thank you for all those precious years. I also have all your music cd's and tapes. They are always played. I have made copies for my kids too. You filled in a lot of blanks and helped make our lives culturally so much richer. Thanks so much. Live long and prosper. You have enriched so many lives with your talent and love - you should be proud."