June 20, 2014
These branches are so tangled. But there is beauty within the chaos. When you look at all of the branches there are names all etched into the bark and it’s really very chaotic. The wind was really blowing the day I took this photo and things were really jumping around. The forest was very turbulent, but there was something calm about the incredible beauty within the chaos. So the question for me was “how do I create something beautiful in what could be seen as a very messy, dysfunctional situation?” The names carved into the tree trunks bothered me so I thought, ‘I want to restore this tree’s natural beauty.’ Taking this photo was really about finding beauty in the face of damage.
I saw these cliffs while I was teaching a photography workshop. They are timeless and beautiful but I felt like they needed a bird. I waited and waited and one showed up. The reason I love this image is that the bird is off center and exiting the image. It is a beautiful image but full of tension. It feels a bit sad because the bird is at the end of its flight. I identified with the bird. I imagined it’s enjoyment of the moment in flight and indifferent to the passing of the cliff.
There are thousands of pictures of this particular point on Martha’s Vineyard so to take this shot is almost a cliché’. I drove up to Aquinah on a very windy day and hoped the “Do Not trespass” fence. There was a lot of volatility to the atmosphere that day as a result of a strong cold front that had just passed. The sun was coming in and out of clouds with some rain falling intermittently. It was a mixed bag of activity and the lighting was really perfect to make a really dramatic shot. Between the wind, the sky, the sea grass blowing in the wind and the alternating red and white flashes of the lighthouse I felt the intensity and passion of Mother Nature. The lighthouse to me represents a safe haven, a homecoming and a security. I chose to shoot my frames as the red light is flashing from the lighthouse to give the scene a sense of urgency. These cliffs are fast eroding and photos rescue the physical moment in time from disappearing forever.
Fall is so nostalgic for me. This photo is of summer’s end, the death and dying of a season and of a time. It has always amazed and intrigued me that just before they die, leaves light up in these amazing fiery reds, oranges and yellows as if they are having their last big hurrah before winter sets in and they have to turn brown and die away. The road in this image goes off into a potentially endless future and represents transition and the unknown and the splendor of life before it all goes away. There’s this sense of impending doom in this photo as though it might be our last chance to witness innocence and beauty.
Peter Simon is a nationally acclaimed photographer and author. Throughout his nearly 40-year career, he has covered an eclectic range of subjects, documenting everything from protest-filled 1960s, to the scenic beauty of his beloved Martha’s Vineyard. In 2008, Simon fulfilled a decade long dream and opened up his own gallery, the Simon Gallery, in Vineyard Haven. Simon’s work has been featured in many publications, including Time, Newsweek, People, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone.