About & Contact Me

Whether it's brooding, wild and stormy, or reflective, calm and serene, the sea stirs something deep inside me.  The open horizon inspires a heady sense of freedom and adventure.  A raging tempest's incredible visual drama and latent menace sets my adrenaline coursing.  While the wonderful hues and reflections in a glorious dawn, or dusk, fills me with awe.  So being beside the ocean with a camera makes me feel alive.  

The call of the sea has been there since I was a small child.  I had spent many long holidays playing in the murky waters of the East Sussex coast.  Yet when I first saw Cornwall in 1974, I immediately fell under the Atlantic's spell.  The crystalline, turquoise sea fascinated me.  Exploring with my snorkel and fins, fishing rod and body board, I had found my element!  When the time came to leave, I precociously announced to my parents that one day I would live here.  

My interest in the ocean grew and grew.  My free time was devoted to surfing, kayaking, spear-fishing, angling and scuba diving.  And the more time I spent in, on or under the sea, the wider my understanding and appreciation of its seasonal states and elemental moods grew. 

And as for photography, my father and both grandfathers were keen amateur photographers, so this was in my genes.  At school the brilliant Head Of Art, Mr Bowerman, took me under his wing and gave me free rein of his jealously guarded photography department.  Here an Olympus OM1 SLR and endless rolls of Ilford B&W film saw me developing my camera and dark room skills.  Under his guidance, I learned to use a camera and the printing processes as creative tools to be freely experimented with rather than a strictly observed, technical doctrine.  An attitude that soon became engrained in my photographic psyche.

Upon leaving Art College in 1984 I got a job in a West End studio and served my apprenticeship in the dark room before moving on to a career in Advertising & Design.  This saw me art directing a wide range of top photographers, alongside gaining my own commissions.  

Yet, because it was an everyday demand, where I would be locked away in the 'sterile' surroundings of a studio, my personal photographic passion was somewhat tempered.  So while I always carried an SLR with me on my coastal adventures, photography took a back seat to my surf boards, kayaks and diving gear.   

By 1990 the digital studio had revolutionised the industry and I had fully embraced the incredible imaging capabilities of Adobe Photoshop.  I was now running my own creative hotshop in Covent Garden and business was good.  However, I had shunned the ugly hybrid digital cameras with their ludicrous price tags, temperamental operation and dodgy image files.  I doggedly insisted on using film and hi-res scanning in all professional work and sidelined digital cameras to pack shots and family snaps.  

That was until the advent of the full frame sensor and Raw file technology.  In 2009 I went digital and my photography was transformed overnight.  Not only on the commercial side, where the lucrative income stream was now brought fully in-house, but down on my beloved coastlines where my DSLR set me free!  

No longer would frame-counting shackle my impulse to shoot.  There was no more changing film on storm-swept beaches, and the exposure triangle was rounded off by the ability to change ISO at will.  All this, in conjunction with a range of Lee ND filters, a powerful flash gun and my experimental approach, began to work wonders!  

And the timing of this revelation could not have been better.  For as the years passed, so I had begun to appreciate my natural surroundings more and more.  In my late 20's and 30's, I often found myself being profoundly moved by the natural beauty and spectacle I witnessed on my adventures.  In my 40's this connection only grew stronger.  I began to yearn for remote shorelines and distant mountains, and I travelled extensively.  Scotland was a magnet and the Highlands and Islands drew me back time after time.  As did Cornwall's coastal majesty.  For the more I explored, the more I realised it was the perfect place for Seascape photography.  

Now, as 50 approached, a change of lifestyle and professional direction became an overwhelming aspiration.  And this new source of creative inspiration offered the way. For while I loved my work, after nearly thirty years amongst London's bright lights, the sparkle was fading for me.  Now I craved a new challenge and wanted to dedicate my time to my seascape photography.  

In 2011, after being cajoled into entering - as photo competitions are not my bag - I won the coveted 'Cornish Point Of View' award.  The winning picture also gained wider national recognition and led to my first solo Seascape exhibition in 2012.  I created my brand around a logo - where my initials shape a verdant leaf - that turns light into energy - which I saw as the ethos behind my work and launched my first website.  With the online shop print sales and stock library royalties, I began to generate income.

Yet this would not be regular or dependable enough to build a new business on.  Neither would traditional commercial photography commissioning.  I had watched this fragment as the line between professional and amateur blurred.  Everyone with a camera was suddenly a 'photographer' and budgets collapsed as penny-pinching clients started budding graduates on a race to the bottom.  So I knew I would need a reliable new income source but I had a good idea of how I could bring things together. 

The boom in camera sales meant there was a host of people looking to gain and advance their photographic skills.  In my extensive journeys around the UK and abroad, I had often witnessed many group photo tours descending on a location.  My heart would sink as, from out of a cramped mini-van, a bustling hoard of eager enthusiasts would emerge and swarm the beach, or loch-lake-fjord side.  As usual, the 'squeaky-wheels' always got the attention, while the quieter, more hesitant types were left to cope alone.  Outside the huge profits those running the course could make, I tried to imagine what the attraction in this could be because, for me, photography comes with being far from the madding crowd.  I would never compromise on this.

Likewise I had also seen many camera-toting clients being guided around a location on a day trip.  The person running the course would be pointing here, and making the clients stand just there, and directing things to a given composition. And I wondered just how effective such a course would be in terms of location diversity and imparting genuinely helpful knowledge given the time restraints involved.  Plus, while there may well have been a bit of a 'show and tell' back in the bar, these courses offered no effective guidance in advancing post-processing.  All things considered, I decided I could do something better...

In February 2013 I finally kept my childhood promise and moved to Cornwall.  Today, from my studio in Crantock on the Atlantic Coast, I range far and wide, searching for drama and dynamic atmospherics at remote and unspoilt coastal locations. 

Here, alongside my commercial commissions and limited edition sales, I run Cornish Seascape Workshops.  Over ten years my course has gained an international reputation for reward and results.  All the skills I gained in my professional career and the wide experience of such close and extended contact with the coast, come together in this unique residential course.  This year the difference I offer was recognised when I won the 'BEST TRAINING PROVIDER' category in the Photography News Awards 2022.  It's true to say that I could not be happier!

Please visit the 'Cornish Seascape Workshops' section for more information.

To contact me about any aspect of my photography and services you can email me at -

chris@c-simmonsphoto.co.uk  or call me on +44(0)7850 569 409

CJ Mug 19