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Peter Angelo Simon

Peter Angelo Simon has explored many forms of photographic expression in his wide-ranging career. He has a deep interest in capturing the working processes of creative people. This comes across powerfully in his studies of theater director Robert Wilson, painter George Deem, the founders of New York's Big Apple Circus and, of course, Muhammad Ali. Simon co-produced the D A Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus documentary film, Bessie: A Portrait of Bessie Schonberg and produced film segments for the BBC program New Release on Ralph Ellison, Salvador Dali, and Milton Babbitt.

Simon’s photographs have been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries and featured in books, advertising campaigns, corporate communication, and magazines including the New York Times and Smithsonian. His archive includes photographs made in South India, Ireland, Brazil, and Mozambique. 

Simon’s innovative photo illustrations expressing ideas and emotions involved pioneering experimental work in motion, color and multiple images. His images often convey the feeling of embarking on a story or inner journey and explore the threshold between the real and imagined. 

Simon has received Clio and Andy awards in advertising, and awards from The Art Director's Club of New York, Art Direction Magazine, Communication Arts, and the Eastman Kodak Epcot Center Professional Photographer's Awards. 

Books include Taschen’s GOAT (2004, about Muhammad Ali), Big Apple Circus (1978, Penguin). Peter teaches photography in his studio in Brooklyn, NY. He is married to the theatrical lighting designer Beverly Emmons. Their daughter Annie Simon is a costume designer for film, theater and opera.

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“Peter Angelo Simon’s remarkable photographs of Muhammad Ali reveal the butterfly behind the bee.”

--Harold Feinstein, Photographer 

“I’ve always deeply appreciated Peter Angelo Simon’s work ever since he did his first cover for the New York Times Magazine (which was named one of the 50 best in the publication’s history). Peter’s passion for the artistic process has taken him across an extraordinary range of projects, from studies on theatre director Robert Wilson and painter George Deem, to a documentary on legendary dance teacher Bessie Schonberg, to books on New York’s Big Apple Circus and so much more. In this latest innovative collection, Peter has provided a rare glimpse into Muhammad Ali, one of the 20th Century’s most iconic and controversial figures. Capturing the mix of nature and creativity that inspired Ali in 1974 while he prepared for the Rumble in the Jungle, Peter’s energizing photographs put you right in the middle of the action. But these pictures also expose the private, introspective Ali for the first time – the poetic soul behind those fists of fury. What was kept hidden for decades at Ali’s retreat in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania, is hidden no longer thanks to Peter’s intimate portraits. His perceptive, empathic photographs from “Fighter’s Heaven” will serve as the definitive answer for anyone who doubts why Ali was called ‘The Greatest.’”
--- Patricia Bosworth, author of Diane Arbus: A Biography

“He is sensitive to the undercurrents in people's lives.” 

--Popular Photography 

“Peter Angelo Simon’s photography based artworks break new ground. Bristling with color and dynamic movement they dissolve boundaries and explore new techniques and aesthetics.

By probing the relationship between photography and painting Simon has taken a courageous stand. His work invites controversy . It comes full circle, bringing us back to the spirited conversation between painting and photography from the early days of the now distant Twentieth Century.”

--Joel Handorf , Curator
“Beyond Gravity” Exhibition

See all photos by Peter Angelo Simon