Age: 24

Location: Los Angeles

IG: @sirdavidsimon


David-Simon is a photographer, writer, and multi-media artist  whose work is featured in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston among other renowned institutions and publications. This is his story.

As a child, I was always looking for an escape. I grew up in nature, up on a mountain outside of Los Angeles, and as I didn’t have many friends—by no choice of my own—I got lost in books and films, in secret worlds of make-believe to fill the silence.
I am the child of immigrants, and it was drilled into my mind very early on that we were not like the Americans. We share space with them, but we are not them, our beliefs are varied, our ancestors were thrown into camps and bludgeoned. Little did they know, my ancestors actually had to bare an even lower ranking in pink. With that comes a sense of shame, as anything might that makes one different. So I remained safe, inside. Other people seemed to be risky, on the odd chance I’d become the butt of jokes, so I learned to be careful. I approached society in stealth. Years later, I decided to try and break out of this shell, by beginning to act, to learn the craft of humanity. I begun shooting photography, and I begun to love seeing the world through a lens, observing and capturing ephemeral spaces I’d have only imagined I might find access to, with people I could only imagined would invite me in.


But it can still be a crutch. A place to hide. A reason to be present with a focus, a mission, without having to be present.
Plays like Bent and I Am My Own Wife, both of which I’ve had the honor of working on, are deeply moving to me. To lose oneself in character, in story. Storytelling, when collaborative in nature, has the power to transform. To transport.
Doing this work makes me closer to understanding. Whether seeing others through a lens, recognizing them, capturing them, writing pieces inspired by them—attempting to transfer their essence onto a page—learning about others’ experiences by reading about them, embodying and translating them...They’re all just ways to get closer to humanity. In effect, closer to oneself.
We are trained as people in a shared society—especially in the queer community— to be okay, to be normal, happy, successful. To compensate.
With that, though, I feel a responsibility to be a vessel for stories, experiences and the fleeting moments that carry them.
Sometimes my work falls short. Others, it comes close to capturing the sort of fragile perfection of life, these wonderfully unique occurrences, these spaces where individuals are not merely safe, but celebrated.
There exists such a fine line between the cultural icon and the outcast. I am interested in that line.
I feel called to preserve it. To give it a spotlight and stage through whichever medium calls.
For many, living authentically is both life and art.
An act of creation, of curation, of activism, of rebellion.

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