About Me

JOEL SIMPSON, found his lifelong interest in landscape photography and geology merging with the Surrealist and abstract art he loves in his most recent body of work, Framing Earth’s Metaphors. Over the past two decades he has traveled extensively in the US West, Canada, and to locations in Europe and around the world in search of exceptional geological locations to furnish the raw material for his geo-aesthetic visions. He hopes that powerful images made from provocative details of the Earth's crust will strengthen the aesthetic bond, and therein the spiritual one, between humanity and a Planet in distress.

       Simpson’s work has been exhibited in Paris (Musée de l’érotisme), Tours, Rome, Barcelona, and many US galleries and art fairs. His images have been published in Silvershotz (Australia),  View Magazine (Brussels),  Camera Arts (Boulder, CO) and Focus Exposures  (online). He went around the world in 2014 and continues to travel extensively. 

   Simpson's awards include ten Black and White Spider Awards (2012–2020, UK), and was named one of the "Best Landscape Photographers of 2019” and again in 2021 by One Eyeland (India). His 2019 book, Earthforms: Intimate Portraits of Our Planet, was featured on the cover of Natural History Magazine (June, 2019) and won the 2019 Nautilus Gold Award for Art and Photography. A shorter book, Playgrounds for the Mind (50 pp.)  came out in 2021 (See Publications.)

My Work

The images that I capture in Framing Earth’s Metaphors on this site invite the viewer inside the apparent chaos of rock formations to evoke resonances with the viewer’s inventory of images, both conscious and unconscious. “Apparent” because the “chaos” of the lapidary world is not really random. It is ruled by the laws of physics as they manifest in fluid dynamics: volcanism, sedimentation, pressure, and erosion. My artistic goal  is to discover those instances when configurations produced by these forces touch off recognitions and emotional responses. These amount to visions in the rocks, visible first to me and then to the viewer.

The content of these visions ranges from obvious figures to vague suggestions of them, and then to provocative abstraction—a thematic range mapped out by the last Modernist schools of art, namely, the late Surrealists and Abstract Expressionists. 

They amount to a collection of naturally occurring metaphors that proves the profound connection between the geology of the Earth’s surface and our minds.


Playgrounds of the Mind: The Art of Geological Photography, 2021. Available on earthforms.net.

How to Put the “WOW” into Your Landscapes: How to ExplandYour Landscape Creativity through Geological Photography, (eBook), 2020. For more see earthforms.net.

 Earthforms: Intimate Portraits of Our Planet, 2019. Nautilus Gold Award for Art and Photography.
“...an outstanding and beautiful compendium of landscape photography that borders on fine art.”—Midwest BookReview. For more see earthforms.net.

Installation Views

Using Format