Laurie Simmons earned a BFA from Temple University's Tyler School of Art. She concentrated on painting, sculpting and printmaking while enrolled at Tyler. When she moved to New York City in the early 1970's to immerse herself in the art world, she was hearing that painting was dead. In search of another way to make a living, she looked to another art medium for a creative outlet - photography.
Laurie never considered photography as an art per se, until she was exposed to New York and its photo scene. She was drawn to photography because of its vitality and its lack of attachment to art history.
When Laurie moved to New York City, the art scene was Post-modernism. This was a perfect time for Laurie to dive into photography. Up until Post-modernism, women were not given the recognition they deserved. In the later 1970's, it was an age of very fierce feminism, anti-men and bra burning scenes. Together with other great women artist, such as Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, and Sarah Charlesworth, women were out in the forefront. .
In addition, during the post modernism era photography was taking a new shape. Andy Warhol was using existing photographs mixed with painting. Many photographers were no longer trying to go out and make pictures from nature, such as Ansel Adams. Post- modern photographers were going beyond traditional photography and acting in a more photojournalistic quality, as well as advertising and even staging their own scenes. .
Laurie Simmons seemed to be in the right place at the right time. She started to experiment with photography, pushing the boundary of what photography stood for. She worked against the traditional artist mold. Instead of documenting and capturing "real life", she wanted to control her subject matter by staging scenes in her studio. She dealt with subject matter that was psychological, political, and subversive. She wanted images that would immerge from her subconscious, such as a surrealist, that could inform as well.