Coreen Simpson

BirthplaceNew York, NY
CitizenshipUnited States
Cultural HeritageAfrican-American
Light Work RelationshipArtist-in-Residence, 1987
Light Work PublicationsContact Sheet 55
Contact Sheet 97




Originally a writer, Coreen Simpson began taking photographs to illustrate her articles. The demand for her photographs caused her to devote more time to photography, and soon it was a major form of employment. When the market ebbed and she needed extra cash flow, she produced and marketed her own jewelry. She believes in doing whatever is necessary to continue her interests. She annually travels to Paris to photograph new fashions for various magazines and has toured Africa with Jesse Jackson.

While an artist-in-residence at Light Work Simpson was able to work on a group of photographs that combine two of her interests, jewelry and photographic portraiture. She printed a series of photographs that document the jewelry of Arthur Smith, a jewelry designer and maker who died in 1983. The images often show the pieces being worn and reflect some of the ideas found in other bodies of her work such as the 'B' Boy series. Plans are to publish the photographs in a book about Smith.

The 'B' Boys and a group of photographs on New York City nightlife are some of the images that reflect Simpson's interest in the way people decorate themselves. Her earlier work often imitated the sparkle of jewels by the application of paint onto the surface of the print. She has moved away from the manipulated photograph to a more documentary style of photographing self decoration. She describes her jewelry pieces as large and dominant when worn. Some of her recent pieces are large enough to be considered sculpture and have been exhibited in galleries.

Coreen Simpson lives in New York City and continues to pursue her varied projects. Her images can be viewed at