Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2024
A Visit From The Dead
A dear friend, Ed Simmons visited me recently. No. Not in the flesh. Ed passed away a little over two years ago on September 22, 2022. Never the less, there have been a series of events that I’ve experienced recently that gives me a feeling his spirit is very much alive. As friends for over a 30 year period, our bond principally developed by our mutual love for the medium of photography and the memories good pictures can provide us. Ed and I shared many of those photographic memories in conversations we had about each others work and our dedication to making weekly phone calls to keep in touch. Although Ed lived the remaining 15 years or so of his life in Los Angelos, we never lost our commitment to a lasting friendship.
The first thing that happened recently that made me feel his spirit was very much alive, was when I visited a mutual friend of ours that was seeking my advice about selling some old photography equipment she was know longer using. I suggested that I should visit her in person so that I could access the condition of the equipment. When I arrived and after looking at the equipment, she opened a box that contained several photographs of which ran a chill up and down my spine. The first three on top of the pile were photographs that Ed Simmons produced while he was spending time photographing the American West during photography workshops in 2007 and 2008. My friend didn’t know Ed very well, although they were part of a group of artists who regularly met on South street for coffee during that time period. She wasn’t particularly attached to the photographs that wound up in her possession through a mutual friend, so she offered them to me as a gift. Ed had to have been smiling down on us a that moment knowing how much I cherished our friendship and his legacy. In an instant I became the proud owner of three Ed Simmons landscapes. What a pleasant surprise that was.
So I brought them home and have had them on display in my studio just so that I can continue to reflect on the life of a dear friend. And just yesterday while I was browsing LinkedIn there was an automated message from Ed congratulating me on a work anniversary. As I looked at the picture closer, I could see that he was wearing one of my t-shirts! The memories of a lifelong friendship continues.
To learn more about the life and times of Ed Simmons, link here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/ed-simmons-in_memorium/