John Simmons

Associate Adjunct Professor John Simmons received a Creative Arts Emmy Award last week for outstanding cinematography for a single-camera series. The Emmy recognized his work as director of photography for the “Go Hollywood” episode of Nickelodeon’s “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn.” The awards were presented Saturday, Sept. 10, and Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles.

Simmons has worked in the film industry since 1973. He began his career as a newspaper still photographer for the Chicago Daily Defender at age 16. His photographs have been and are exhibited all over the world. Even with his busy film career, Simmons continues to take still photographs and inventive portraits today.  

Simmons, who graduated from Fisk University with a degree in fine arts and a degree in cinematography from USC, 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 he worked 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.

He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers and the Directors Guild of America. His work has been seen in 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.