The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Howard Simmons

Share on Social Media

Information about Howard Simmons

Profile image of Howard Simmons

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Photographer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Thai Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Chicago, Illinois
Favorite Quote:
Seize The Time. Let Not The Moments Wane. So Precious Is This Day That Even Now It Slips Into Eternity.

Birthplace

Born:
6/11/1943
Birth Location:
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Photographer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Thai Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Chicago, Illinois
Favorite Quote:
Seize The Time. Let Not The Moments Wane. So Precious Is This Day That Even Now It Slips Into Eternity.

Birthplace

Born:
6/11/1943
Birth Location:
Pittsburgh
See how Howard Simmons is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Commercial photographer and photojournalist Howard Simmons was born on June 11, 1943 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His mother, Lillian, was a day worker from South Carolina while his father, Luther, was a contractor from Pennsylvania. Simmons and his older sister Margaret were often moving around as children. In 1961, Simmons graduated from Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Immediately after graduation, Simmons enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where he played French horn with Air Force service bands until 1966. While serving, he became interested in photography and began photographing arrangements he would make with various materials from the barracks.

In 1966, Simmons began working for Gateway Studios as a photo lab technician with the desire to become a commercial photographer. The following year, he compiled a portfolio and presented it to Ebony magazine where John Johnson hired him as a staff photographer. With Ebony, Simmons covered Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in Atlanta and Coretta Scott King’s subsequent rally in Washington D.C. In 1968, friend Bob Black told Simmons the Chicago Sun-Times was hiring so Simmons joined the staff doing photojournalism until 1976. In 1973, Simmons, John White, Ovie Carter, and Bob Black created the exhibit “Through The Eyes of Blackness” which displayed the everyday life of blacks.

In 1976, Simmons left the paper to become a self-employed commercial photographer. He did advertisements for Coca Cola, McDonalds, Sears, Folgers, Amoco, Kelloggs and others traveling as far as Zimbabwe and Paris. In 1980, Simmons shot the first cover for Black Family magazine and in 1983, he bought a building in Chicago and turned it into what became his favorite commercial photography studio. Simmons work is showcased on his website, HowardSimmonsPhotography.com, opened in 2009.

Simmons is married to Marva E. Simmons and together they have three children: Robbin L. Mugnaini, Tracey L. Mcghee, and Christie R. Edwards.

Howard Simmons was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 25, 2010.

See how Howard Simmons is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Howard Simmons' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Howard Simmons lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Howard Simmons describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Howard Simmons talks about his maternal aunts
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Howard Simmons describes his mother's occupation
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Howard Simmons describes his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Howard Simmons remembers the lawsuit against his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Howard Simmons talks about his father's resourcefulness
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Howard Simmons talks about his parents' marriage
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Howard Simmons describes his likeness to his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Howard Simmons remembers the death of his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Howard Simmons talks about his family's frequent moves
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Howard Simmons talks about his sister
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Howard Simmons describes his earliest childhood memories, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Howard Simmons describes his earliest childhood memories, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Howard Simmons talks about his homes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Howard Simmons describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Howard Simmons describes his early education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Howard Simmons remembers his early interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Howard Simmons describes his introduction to photography, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Howard Simmons describes his interest in the French horn
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Howard Simmons talks about talented French hornists
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Howard Simmons recalls his disinterest in sports
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Howard Simmons remembers the influence of his father
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Howard Simmons remembers joining a field band in the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Howard Simmons talks about the celebrities from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Howard Simmons remembers falling ill during basic training for the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Howard Simmons describes his experiences in the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Howard Simmons remembers being stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Howard Simmons describes his introduction to photography, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Howard Simmons talks about his early camera equipment
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Howard Simmons talks about the process of developing and printing photographs
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Howard Simmons reflects upon his experiences in the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Howard Simmons recalls his apprenticeship at the Judge Studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Howard Simmons remembers his decision to pursue a career in photography
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Howard Simmons remembers joining the staff of Ebony magazine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Howard Simmons describes his photography work for Ebony magazine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Howard Simmons remembers photographing Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Howard Simmons remembers photographing Jim Brown on the set of 'The Riot'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Howard Simmons recalls photographing Harry Belafonte at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Howard Simmons describes his decision to leave Ebony magazine
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Howard Simmons remembers joining the staff of the Chicago Sun-Times
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Howard Simmons describes the competitive environment of news photography
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Howard Simmons recalls his experiences as a photographer at the Chicago Sun-Times, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Howard Simmons recalls his experiences as a photographer at the Chicago Sun-Times, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Howard Simmons recalls his experiences at the Ebony Fashion Fair
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Howard Simmons talks about the emotional burden of news photography
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Howard Simmons talks about the importance of timing in news photography
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Howard Simmons describes the 'Through Eyes of Blackness' photography exhibit
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Howard Simmons remembers photographing Minister Louis Farrakhan and Elijah Muhammad
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Howard Simmons describes his transition to commercial photography
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Howard Simmons remembers joining the staff of Vince Cullers Advertising, Inc.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Howard Simmons describes his experiences as a commercial photographer
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Howard Simmons talks about his transition to digital photography
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Howard Simmons talks about the utility of digital photography
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Howard Simmons reflects upon his life and career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Howard Simmons describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Howard Simmons reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Howard Simmons talks about his family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Howard Simmons reflects upon his gratitude to his parents
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Howard Simmons talks about his concerns for the field of photography
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Howard Simmons describes how he would like to be remembered