John Simmons has worked in the film industry since 1973. He was born in Chicago and began his career as a newspaper still photographer for the “Chicago Daily Defender” at the age of sixteen. His photographs have been and are today exhibited all over the world. Even with his busy filming career John continues to take still photographs and inventive portraits today.
Simmons is a graduate of Fisk University with a degree in Fine Arts. He also has an degree in cinematography from USC. He teaches cinematography and has been a faculty member of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television since 1992.
His career as a cinematographer began when working as a camera assistant on African American biographical films for director Carlton Moss. Later these films and this relationship with Carlton would provide Simmons with his first opportunities to work as the cinematographer. It all blossomed from there.
Simmins is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and The Directors Guild of America (DGA). His extensive resume includes feature films, commercials, music videos, television shows and documentaries. His first feature film was “Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored,” directed by Tim Reid. For the last 4 years, John Simmons has been the premiere cinematographer for the Disney Channel. He served as Directoer of Photography on their highest rated shows, such as The Jonas Brothers and Dog With A Blog. He broke ground as the first Disney Cenematographer to be nominated for 2 Prime-time Emmys for his work on Good Luck Charlie and Pair of Kings.. This was particularly impressive because the shows were in competetion with ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, HBO, Showtime and other networks.