Simpson's photographic career began as a fashion photographer for the Village Voice and the Amsterdam News in the early 1980s, and covered many African-American cultural and political events in the mid-1980s. She is also noted for her studies of Harlem nightlife. Her work's ability to present a wide variety of subjects with "depth of character and dignity" has been compared to that of Diane Arbus and Weegee.
- The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, 2001
- Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY, 2001, 1998
- Anacostia Museum/Smithsonian, Washington, DC, 2000
- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NY, 1999
- Musée de la Photographie, Brussels, Belgium, 1998
- International Center of Photography, New York, NY, 1998
- Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, NY;
- Parsons School of Design, New York, NY
- Light Work Residency, 1987
- Nueva Luz, Volume 1#2
- Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Black Women Photographers, Writers & Readers, 1993
- "Coreen Simpson", Black Women in America, MacMillan, 1999
- Black Women in America, p. 250.
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