Jeff Jacobson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1946. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1968, and from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., in 1971. While practicing as an ACLU lawyer in the American South in the early 70’s, Jeff became interested in photography, shooting in southern jails and rural areas. After completing a workshop at Apeiron with Charles Harbutt, in 1974, Jacobson quit his law practice to devote his full energies to photography.
In 1976, Jeff began working in color while photographing the American presidential campaign. It was during this personal project that he began experimenting with strobe and long exposures, a now familiar technique that he pioneered. Jeff joined Magnum Photos in 1978; he left in 1981 and helped found Archive Pictures. He continued his color explorations in the United States throughout the 80’s, which culminated in the publication of his monograph, My Fellow Americans, by the University of New Mexico Press. Jeff does assignments for magazines such as The New York Times Magazine, Fortune, Time, Geo, Stern, and Life.
Jeff’s photographs are in the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Houston Museum of Fine Art, George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, The Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ, The Joy of Giving Society in New York, and have been exhibited at George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, The Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN, The International Center of Photography, NY, The Jewish Museum, NY, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City, The Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Carla Sozzani Gallery in Milan, Italy, The Kircaldy Museum in Scotland, Museum of The Jewish Diaspora in Tel Aviv, Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Staten Island, NY, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Nexus Gallery, Atlanta, GA, The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH, Carnegie-Mellon University Art Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, The Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, NJ. Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC, Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas, Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin, TX and at photography festivals in Charlottesville, VA, Pingyao, China, Perpignan, France, Coimbra, Portugal, and Eindover, The Netherlands. Jeff teaches workshops regularly at ICP in New York, and has also taught at The Tuscany Photo Workshop, in Buonconvento, Italy, The Anderson Ranch, in Aspen, CO, Centro de la Imagen, in Mexico City, The Center for Photography at Woodstock, NY. He has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
In 1990, Jeff moved to Los Angeles and began a series of pictures which were published in his book, Melting Point, by Nazraeli Press, Autumn, ’06. An exhibition of Melting Point was at the Peer Gallery, in New York City, Nov. ’06 – January ’07, Cedro 26 Gallery, in Rome, Italy, April, 2008, and the Festival of the Photograph, Charlottesville, VA, June, 2008. Jeff now lives with his wife, Marnie Andrews, in Mt Tremper, a Catskills hamlet about two hours north of New York.