When you sit down and talk with Simon, his passion for photography and image-making is immediately apparent. His main inspiration comes from seeing people view his images and then challenging their viewpoints.
“It doesn’t have to be a controversial image to cause someone to either love or hate my work. I don’t mind which it is, as long as they form an opinion, discuss it or even change their thoughts about a subject. The photograph really is a tool to enable change. Some of the greatest photographers have done this. I don’t put myself in their league, but I do want to cause debate, discussion, emotion, and empathy. My inspiration comes from the likes of Nick Brandt and Ansel Adams, though it doesn’t stop there. If you think of the war photographers: Don McCullen, Robert Cappa, or members of The Bang Bang Club like Kevin Carter, they recorded the most appalling moments in the world, changing opinion, sparking discussion, highlighting man’s darker side. All these images were documents or testimony. Some images gave hope, happiness, and love, others sadness, introspection, or shame. These days we all have cameras on our phones, the image is no longer a rare statement, but an everyday commodity. I still feel that even though you can take your own image which captures a personal memory, there is a real value to a planned action of testimony that shows something we don’t always see.
I spent so much of my photographic career trying to appeal to the masses, when the reality is that the commodity of images makes it almost impossible to make a living from this. I decided enough was enough, changed my rationale and have reconciled that limited special images contain more impact that the ‘shot-gun’ approach I’ve used in the past. Working with charities and supporting their work is so much more important now. Governments seem to be happy to look the other way, knowing that the gap they cause will be filled by the public’s generosity or the passion to do something right while they give lip service. I’m no longer about the mass-produced image, and really want to limit my work.”
Simon decided at the end of 2021 to halt his image sales through his website and reduce the available artworks to limited editions. He has also removed the limitations of topic, to better cater for his desire not to be pigeonholed. He is a photographer first, wishing to align his images with what he wants to create, and not what the perception dictates.
“I still want people to come along for the ride. If you like my images that’s great, and if you don’t that’s fine too. As long as you make a decision…”
Simon’s earlier images can still be licensed through stock libraries for editorial work, but cannot be purchased as prints. Only limited Editions are available from 2022 onwards.