Portraits of my Lineage

The Family Tree Project

Portraits of my Lineage

The Family Tree Project

Portraits of my Lineage

The Family Tree Project

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The Family Tree Project

2021 // 2022


The primary aim of The Family Tree Project is to chronicle my familial history and, consequently, explore facets of my own identity. This concept has long simmered within me: the notion of capturing my relatives through photography, endeavoring to assemble a collective portrait of as many living family members as possible within the span of a year. What began as a modest undertaking burgeoned into a more extensive project, extending into the subsequent year. It's a tribute to my maternal lineage, with a focal point on the Leroy family tree. The intention is to create a temporal capsule, freezing a moment in time and encapsulating the essence of that year for posterity. Despite harboring this idea for some time, I once doubted both the time and skill required to realize it to a satisfactory standard. However, in the wake of the tumultuous past two years, I've come to realize that there's no time like the present to embark on such a venture. Life's fragility and the relentless march of time compel action now.

For this endeavor, I opted to employ Rembrandt lighting, employing a minimalist approach with just one flash, a black backdrop, and a 85mm lens. Rembrandt lighting derives its name from the illustrious Dutch painter of the 17th century, Rembrandt himself, who famously utilized this lighting technique to profound effect in his masterpieces. At its core, the setup hinges on a single light source, offering a timeless aesthetic to complement the familial narrative captured through the lens.

Portrait: Sharon Simonson

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Jeremy Simonson


Exploring the Interplay of Light and Shadow

With a background in theater and visual arts, my journey as a photographer is deeply influenced by the concept of the frame as my canvas or stage. Every composition I capture within my viewfinder is a meticulous arrangement, guided by the principles of chiaroscuro—the dynamic contrast between dark and light. Delving into the depths of this interplay, I often spot meter my exposures to embrace the nuances of shadow and illumination.

 Photography, to me, is a meditation on the natural world—a captivating realm brimming with diversity and character. Through my lens, I endeavor to unveil new perspectives on the mundane, utilizing elements such as dramatic light, subtle lines, intricate patterns, vibrant colors, and the ephemeral moods of nature to narrate compelling stories.

Perspective is paramount in my photographic exploration. Constantly seeking fresh angles and vantage points, I challenge myself to reimagine the familiar landscapes around my home in Park Rapids, Minnesota—a locale renowned for its scenic beauty and tranquil lakes. Yet, even amidst familiarity, each click of the shutter holds the promise of unexpected discovery, reinforcing the notion that creativity knows no bounds.

My portfolio spans a diverse array of subjects, ranging from macro and micro landscapes to mesmerizing waterscapes, immersive travel photography, and intimate portraiture. My work invites viewers to embark on a visual journey that transcends boundaries, inviting contemplation and connection with the world around us.

The Simonson Siblings

The eight children of Sharon and Jerry Simonson.

In order of appearance, Cindy, Belinda, Michelle, Tim, Mary, Barry, Jeremy & Jon

Mary Ayers
Barry Simonson
Jeremy Simonson
Jon Simonson

Cindy & Rich

1st born and son-in-law to Sharon Simonson

Belinda & Brian

2nd oldest daughter and son-in-law to Sharon Simonson

Michelle & Dave

3rd oldest daughter and son-in-law to Sharon Simonson

The Ayres Family

Fourth daughter and son-in-law to Sharon Simonson, in order of appearance: Mary, Troy, Amber, Brad, Steven, Luke and Zamias

Barry & Ramona

Fifth son and daughter-in-law of Sharon Simonson

Jon Simonson

Eighth and youngest of Sharon's children.

Donavon, Nicole & Family

Oldest son to Cindy. Donavon, Nicole,

Nicolás, Christy, Wyatt, Noah & William

Son of Cindy,

Henzel Family

Daughter Belinda, order of appearance: Karrie, Josh, Isaha

Robin & Ted

My first cousin, once removed, daughter to Kim