Photographer

Kim D.M. Simmons


Kim D.M. Simmons was the official freelance packaging and catalog photographer for Kenner's vintage Star Wars toy line. He graduated from Ohio University in 1981 and started his commercial photography career under the mentorship of Roy Frankenfield in Cincinnati Ohio. His first assignment at Frankenfield & Associates involved being placed behind the camera several feet high up in the air, looking down at Star Wars action figures on a yellow background. That was the beginning of his photographic relationship with Star Wars and his love of creating scenes for the toys that would capture the hearts and imaginations of children around the world. In 1982, Kim created and shot a large scale Hoth Battle Scene for Kenner, which he also used as the centerpiece of his Masters of Photography college thesis. Believing in the potential historical value of the images being created, Kim archived most but not all of the film that he could salvage from trash cans that were sitting in two inches of water within the studio’s basement. Eventually, Kim would buy the business from Roy and continued shooting Star Wars product until Hasbro's Episode I line when Hasbro left Cincinnati in 2001. 

During the Hasbro era and his transition into digital photography in 1997, Kim was interviewed for a feature article by Star Wars Magazine and was given the nickname “themanwhoshotlukeskywalker”. He was even on the local news as a featured guest throughout the morning. Many years later in 2008, he became well known in the Star Wars collecting community after he was invited to discuss his work at club meetings in Ohio and Kentucky. Kim later appeared in the 2014 toy documentary "Plastic Galaxy", and in 2016, he was inducted into the 501st Legion as an honorary member at the Cincinnati Comic Expo. Proclaimed by the mayor of Cincinnati, September 24, 2016 was declared “Kim D.M. Simmons Day”. He was interviewed for Netflix's 2018 "The Toys That Made Us" Star Wars episode and appeared in their extra released footage. One of his pieces appeared in the 2018 exhibit "The Force of Fandom" at the Columbus Museum of Art. He enjoys talking about his experiences and photography at pop culture conventions, and at a panel at Star Wars Celebration 2019 in Chicago.