Simon Griffee · Design · Photography · Writing · Illustration

What: photography

Bruce Gilden Lost And Found, New York City, 2019

A pleasure to work with master photographer Bruce Gilden together with Sophie Darmaillacq on these wonderful images, to be printed by master printers at Éditions Xavier Barral. The book will be available on 19 November, 2019.

After recently moving house, Bruce Gilden discovered hundreds of contact prints and negatives in his personal archives, from work undertaken in New York, his native city, between 1978 and 1984. From these thousands of images, most of which are new even to their author, Gilden has selected around a hundred. Extending from the desire to revisit the work of his youth, this historic archive constitutes an inestimable treasure. ¶ An extraordinary New York is portrayed here, revealing an unknown facet of Gilden’s oeuvre. With all the energy of a young man in his thirties, and with no flash (before Gilden became famous for its almost systematic use), Gilden launched an assault on New York in a visibly tense atmosphere. In this extraordinary gallery of portraits, the compositions — mostly horizontal — simmer with energy, bursting with the most diverse characters, as though Gilden intended to include within the frame everything that caught his eye. ¶ In this book, we see the guiding tropes of the work that was to make Gilden famous: sustained movement and tension, unrivalled spirit, and an instinctive and irreverent affection for his subjects, perfectly in cahoots with his city.


First Picture of a Black Hole, Messier 87, Local Universe, First Imaged 2017, Published 2019

A picture representing a stunning triumph by humanity, made by diverse Earthlings, using many observatory arrays around Earth, and Earth itself, as a telescope.


Introducing a little project called imgtlk where people write about an image, or piece of art that can be represented visually (music, math, sculpture, literature, architecture, computer games, and so on), that was important to them, or inspired them somehow. It can be something they made themselves, or a piece created by someone else.

Using Photography for Everyday Well-being #
Taking one photograph a day is good for your health: Interest in the connection between involvement in digital communities and well-being has increased as these communities become more commonplace. Specific models of interaction that affect well-being have emerged; here, we examine one of those models, termed ‘digital daily practice’. Digital daily practices involve a commitment to doing one thing – exercise, photography and writing – every day and sharing it online. …continue

Lake Mareotis View Towards Temple of Sekhmet in Yamu, Egypt, Ptolemaic period (49–47 BC), February 2018

Assassin’s Creed Origins has quickly become one of my favorite games through the breathtaking realization of its world alone. It is visually and aurally — both sound effects and music — beautiful, a stunning technical and artistic achievement.

It is also lots of fun, and an educational “Discovery Tour” version is forthcoming, as are more street photos of this digital world as I explore it (the in-game photography-mode feature is a great idea which should become a standard in all 3D games.)

Digital Photography Workflow

Here is one possible digital photography workflow written quickly in response to a query: Download and install Lightroom or your preferred software on your computer. Create a Lightroom catalogue on an external drive (or array of drives) that you will hopefully make regular, tested backup copies of. Here is one possible folder structure that along with the file naming below has the benefit of being automatically sorted by date in your native computer file system so you don’t go nuts should Adobe/Lightroom go out of business:



Felines in NYC, March 2017.

Somebody asked “What’s your workday like?” and it occurred to me that writing this down may be useful, so here is my answer.

Marc Riboud 1923–2016 #

Portfolio of his photographs.

Bar, Williamsburg, New York City, March 2016

Pale Blue Dot #
When bombarded with bad news I like to remember Carl Sagan‘s comments about a picture of our solar systems taken from Voyager 1: We succeeded in taking that picture, and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there – on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam. …continue


Just over a year ago we arrived in NYC during a cold night and used wifi at a McDonald’s at 3am in order to contact the person responsible for the place we would stay at for the first month near 137th street. Amber immersed indoors to work and I outside despite the weather. After the first month we moved further up Harlem to 145th street with Gianni and Maude.

I got my first job by walking around the Columbia campus and finding a notice looking for a graphic design student in the History department. I wrote and was called in to work a few hours a week with the lovely staff at the Italian Academy after convincing them that I am a life-long student.

After four months we moved to an old apartment by the campus on 114th Street, sublet from two nice History professors, and I got my second job helping a legendary street photographer and his family pack and move from New York City to Beacon. I got in touch with Bruce again through a nice person called Cameron from Magnum Photos who I met after doing a workshop with Peter Van-Agtmael, another nice person recommended to me by my friend Mino. I’m very happy to be friends with Bruce and his family — such special people, the Gildens, cats included!

Meeting photographers on the street has been a highlight of living in New York and I am glad to have spoken to many. The first was Omar Robles who encouraged me (along with Emelyne) to try Instagram. I still don’t know what to think about it other than perhaps this: There is a strong, instinctual human desire for visual communication, and people and companies are taking advantage of it. I even attended a meetup, though ultimately the act of photography is, to me, a solitary one.

During summer I had reunions with four childhood friends from Brazil and one I met in Tunisia when I was really learning English. One of them is a fashion photographer who pointed out I accidentally took a picture of a well-known model on the street. I visited MIT, a place I liked a lot and hope to return to for a while some day.

I made new friends including and Mike and then Isaac from K&M Camera, the latter who led me to get New York to Nuova Scotia and to go see Robert Frank and June Leaf’s door. I visited Google (thanks, Gino!) and visited Michigan three times, including for one wedding, and Thomas, West Virginia, once. I met Geoff Dyer and Sally Mann and even Drew and Carolyn came to visit!

I cried when I heard Leonard Nimoy had died. B.B. King is also gone, as is Hermann Zapf and a friend called Corey whom I hadn’t seen for a long time.

During my walks photographing the city I passed in front of a chip shop 20 minutes before an explosion that killed two people and subsequently destroyed the building by fire. Death reminds me to make the most of life’s moments, and not worry too much.

Earlier in the year I designed an international symbol for an observer and it was accepted by the Unicode Consortium so you may see it in your emoji list on your mobile phone in the future! I attended one makeathon and hackathon related to blockchain technology which may be part of the answer for a basic income for all human beings on the planet and found an M-Class Earth-like planet in the Elite simulation I enjoy retiring to at times in the evening and dedicated it to my late father.

We moved to Inwood, which was a pleasant surprise. I did not know one could live next to an old forest in Manhattan. There is a lot of good food all around us, we hear, but we have only been able to afford to eat at home while getting settled in New York City. Only free (or highly discounted, due to Amber’s student status) concerts and museums, too: NYPL Public Eye and Cooper Hewitt exhibitions; Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited, released 50 years ago, performed in its entirety by Fiona Apple and Watkins Family Hour house band and guests (my favorite performances were Fiona’s A Mistake and Shawn Colvin’s cover of Ballad of a Thin Man); Shakespeare’s The Tempest at Marcus Garvey park; Tosca at Lincoln center together with Amber’s advanced Italian class; Magdalena Baczewska‘s concert, for which I made a poster; Photographer meetups on Tuesdays at Doctor Thoms’ (thanks Theo, Mike, Tanner and Robert!)

My ‘Palm Sunday’ photograph was in the Penumbra member show at Soho Photo Gallery — my first exhibited work in New York.

Towards the end of the year I began working for my graphic design mentor Milton Glaser, Sue and Dan in the legendary studio on 32nd Street. I had only met Milton through his work and still find it hard to believe and am amazed to be in the studio where the words ‘Art is Work’ are written on the door.

I like to remember the good things happening around the world, and how small we all are in reality. Yes, 2015 was also a year of progress for people living together.

Onwards, Spaceship Earth!

—Simon, writing from Rome, with my mom, my brother, and Amber, who has worked incredibly hard this year (though she makes it look easy!), and without whom I would not have experienced anything close to 2015.

Self-Portrait in Pencil on Google Guest ID

A drawing to celebrate a surreal day where things that give me energy — design, technology and photography — intertwined. Met Milton, Sue, and Dan in their studio in the morning. Then bemused Chelsea gallery receptionists with inquiries regarding work submissions, and visited Google in the afternoon (thanks, Gino!). Photographed in Union Square then spent time with other photography aficionados at Professor Thom’s (thanks Mike, Theo and Marie!) in the evening.


With Victor at MIT Stata Center, Boston, Massachusetts, August 2015

30 years of friendship.

Per Volquartz in Joshua Tree, California, January 2007

In January 2007 I attended a photography workshop with Per Volquartz and a mix of photographers in Joshua Tree National Park in California. Per was a master photographer and printer and a kind, joyful person.

When I searched for his website recently I was saddened to learn he passed away in 2011, so I went back to these pictures I took during those days and nights on the high desert.

These are for Per.

NYC Winter Collection 2015, New York City