jay simple | ig: @jaysimplephoto & @photogreenbook | website: jaysimple.com
(he/him) is a photographer from Chicago and Philadelphia. While he was born in Chicago and raised in Philadelphia, he still lays claim to being from two of the greatest cities. He landed back in Philly after living in Pamplin, Virginia working as a professor and lecturer at Longwood University and Virginia Commonwealth University. He was homeschooled his whole life and came from an academically engaged family that emphasized the exposure and usage of the arts as a notion of communication.
Simple began his career in film and cinematography, later feeling most intrigued by the still image and how it could be used to contextualize a moment and influence through suggestion and mood. He began creating narrative images that birthed from his interest in The Great Migration, which occurred between 1917-1970, when 6 million people migrated to northern, midwestern, and western cities across the United States.
His work builds a stage for an opportunity to question and inquire about how our history of violence seeps into contemporary black life, while simultaneously inciting conversations that allow for a more imaginative space to dream about how to actively subvert systems of oppression.
His ongoing series Exodus Home investigates these themes of migration and home further through the usage of sculptural elements, found photographs and self-portraiture. These objects interact in communication of the same world, the photographs present themselves as a point of reflection, while the sculptures obtain an abrasive and immediate voice that considers the way in which these relics continue to hold real and tangible manifestations of our past. His images shift the boundaries of time and place emphasis on notions of home in relation to the ways in which black people acquire disjointed relationships to belonging through our inherent violent histories.
Season Three of PhotoLounge Presents is curated by Rebecca Arthur.
PLP is a curated series where guest curators turn the lens on emerging photographers and provide a glimpse of their oeuvre and what inspires them. This is the penultimate episode of the season.