CHRIS SIMPSON Born in 1952 in Zurich, raised in Africa and Mauritius. His unique way of seeing was influenced by the exoticism of the natural world around him. Simpson’s photographs, with their clean lines and uncluttered compositions, exemplify his innate understanding of the simplicity of natural beauty and form.
Educated in the UK and trained at art school in London in the early 1970s, his internship at Vogue Studios with David Bailey, Clive Arrowsmith and Olivero Toscani convinced him that his initial path was fashion.
He spent the next 20 years as a fashion photographer, living in both Paris and London. In the late 1980s, he was shooting high-profile advertising campaigns for British Airways, Mercedes-Benz, Bacardi Rum, Stella Artois and the Australian Tourist Board, taking time off between commissions to shoot pictures for himself.
1987 marked a turning point in his career when he travelled to the Northern Territory in Australia to photograph the Aboriginal people. The pictures he brought back, portraying the timeless, dreamlike quality of the land and the warmth and dignity of the people, were exhibited to great acclaim. That success ultimately led him to devote more of his time to taking his own pictures.
His globetrotting has taken him from remote regions such as the Atacama Desert and Easter Island, to the Himba tribe of Namibia and tobacco farmers in Cuba. His trip to Madagascar in 1997 resulted in many inspirational pictures, one of them being his signature picture Allée des Baobabs. At every location, he brilliantly captures the very essence and character of the landscape, the people and the atmosphere.
‘I know that most people are so closely concerned with themselves they’re not aware of their own individuality, I can see myself, and it has helped me to say what I want to say…’
WITH REFERENCE TO GEORGIA O’KEEFFE