Growing up in Westport, it’s hard not to be influenced by the water. Some kids simply enjoy the beach. Others learn to sail, kayak or paddleboard.
Jeff Simon’s love of the Sound went even deeper.
From the age of 2, he was fascinated by tidal pools. Over the years he developed a great appreciation for our marine coastline and wildlife.
He graduated from Staples High School in 1964, then earned a degree in biology from the University of Miami.
That led Jeff to the Everglades, where he spent a year producing, directing and shooting his first film: an ecological study of that rich, diverse ecosystem.
It’s been over half a century, but he has not stopped.
Jeff has photographed sea turtles, manatees, puffins, whales, salmon, the Florida Keys, salt marshes, artificial reefs, the Bay of Fundy and Chesapeake Bay. His work has appeared in Life, the New York Times, National Wildlife, Natural History and many other magazines and newspapers.
(He also was director of photography on “Ace Ventura,” won an Emmy for the TV pilot of “Miami Vice,” went 18,000 feet below the ocean surface in a Russian submersible, recorded the Doors’ infamous Miami concert, and shot Marilyn Chambers before she became a famous X-rated actress. But those are other stories.)
Jeff is back in Westport. He videotaped Tracy Sugarman‘s riveting Memorial Day speech in high def, and donated it to the library. He’s also filmed the Concours d’Elegance car event, and made another on Connecticut wineries. Some of his best work has come using large-format cameras.
But he’s never strayed far from Long Island Sound. Jeff’s latest project includes a new version of his original salt marsh film.
His goal is to spotlight the value of salt marshes, especially as nursery grounds for valuable seafood, migrating and residential birds, as well as barriers against storm damage.
The film is aimed at science centers, museums, and city and state governments, so they can make better decisions about the fate of salt marshes.
They’ve changed a lot since Jeff first became interested in them, back as a Westport kid in the 1950s.
He’s doing his part to make sure they don’t change any more.