Joe Simpson, the 58-year-old producer, reality TV star, and father of pop stars Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, opened Dreams Work, a show of his photography at LA's Bruce Lurie Gallery last week. The photographs, which feature models as well as his famous progeny, are heavily treated with Photoshop techniques. But before one asks, Is that it?, there’s another feature these photos have that’s strikingly rare in Pop photography: sincerity.
When Joe Simpson speaks about the work, his enthusiasm is infectious. He explains that he’s been taking photographs his whole life. He got his first camera when he was 14, but he didn’t take the work seriously until his (very public) breakup with his wife. “When I separated from my wife, my therapist said I should do things I did before I was married. Well, I’ve been married since I was 20!” Since then he's devoted more attention to photography again, honing his skill by working with fashion photographers.
When asked why he chose to include photos of his famous kids, he responds, “I am the father of the girls. For me to not have them in the show would be odd.” He goes on to speak about making art in LA., saying, “California is the perfect place for art, between the weather and the beauty of the country. But Hollywood is known for dreamers; people come here with a dream.” In the end, Simpson is trying to make earnest Pop, free of irony. He talks of blessings, joy, and the power of dreams. “That’s why the show is called Dreams Work. Many people dream, and very few people work for dreams, they just think that dreams happen. Dreams are work. The people that see their dreams come true work really hard to get there. I don’t think it’s ever too late to dream.”