An East Greenwich-raised Photographer’s Globetrotting Adventures

How David Simms’ passion brought him around the world

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David Simms came by his love of photography naturally. His father was an avid amateur photographer, whose primary focus was capturing family moments. Simms’ motivation, however, has always been a desire for adventure and exploration.

Born and raised in East Greenwich, the now-Providence resident got his first camera when he was 17. Simms is a biochemist by day and takes every opportunity he can to explore the world and photograph its beauty, his passion having taken him to mountains all over Europe, Asia, and the United States, including climbs at Mount Rainier in Washington State, Mount Elbrus in Russia, Island Peak in Nepal, and the Matterhorn in Switzerland. But he doesn’t always need to travel far to capture stunning sights – Simms is equally enthusiastic about taking an early morning outing before work to catch a sunrise at one of South County’s beautiful beaches or to head to downtown Providence after work to capture the sun setting behind the cityscape or the tantalizing lights of WaterFire.  

Recently, Simms has started branching out in his subject matter, following a long-held fascination with underwater photography that drew him more to diving in the ocean than climbing mountains. “I was always inspired by it,” he shares, “although I didn’t really get my camera in the sea until 2002 during a trip to the Philippines.”  

Even then, Simms continued to concentrate mostly on mountain climbing until a couple of years ago, fostering an
appreciation for the different style. “Taking pictures underwater changes many things, from light to color to scale. In many cases, I’m moving as well as my subjects and getting fish to cooperate isn’t always easy! I recently purchased a housing, which enables me to bring other equipment, such as strobes for adding light to poorly lit areas, into the water along with my camera.”

Above water, Simms usually shoots with a Fuji X-E3, using an assortment of lenses. His favorite shots are of landscapes, which use an ultra-wide angle lens. For underwater shots, he uses a SONY a6000, which he plans to take with him on his next adventure to Bimini to swim with the sharks and hone his skills. 

Three years ago, after much urging from friends, Simms set up a website to display his photos, many of which exude a simultaneous sense of great power and deep serenity. Aside from producing a yearly calendar featuring his work, he has sold several pieces directly from the website, provided the cover for a friend’s book of poetry, and been featured in a book produced by Backpacker magazine. 

Closer to home, a scroll through Simms’ Instagram page illuminates Rhody scenes interspersed with worldwide travels, as well as clams and black sea bass posing for the camera in Newport waters.

View his work at DavidSimmsPhoto.com and follow at @davidsimmsphoto

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