Swimming with the Sharks

Aaron Simpkins (B.A.’99) is the man behind the camera at the Georgia Aquarium

Walking through the Georgia Aquarium, you might not realize how much of the experience is created by the design of the building itself or the visuals on the walls.

You may not consider how the exact placements of the text and images on an infographic shapes the way you learn about the animals or about the ecological issues facing the globe today.

For Aaron Simpkins, these thoughts repeat through his head all day.


Aaron Simpkins

As the manager of exhibits and graphics, Simpkins manages a team of artists, designers and photographers. He signed on as a graphic designer seven years ago and quickly rose to a leadership position on his team. Connected with each department in the aquarium, Simpkins produces work that touches each corner of the operation.

A day at work for Simpkins always guarantees variety, which is part of why he loves his job. Some days might mean donning a wetsuit and photographing a giant manta ray, or meeting with the marketing team to discuss visual strategies.

One thing is for sure, he gets to exercise his talents for art and design in a unique environment.

“There’s nothing quite like swimming next to a whale shark,” he said. “You have to capture the perfect moment with some of these creatures, and when you do, it’s really fulfilling.”

Apart from photography, Simpkins dabbles in all of the visual aspects of the aquarium.

“I like that the work I do leads to the educational advancement of our visitors in addition to creating a positive, friendly atmosphere,” he said.