London-based photographer Jillian Edelstein was born and grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. She began working as a press photographer in Johannesburg on the Rand Daily Mail and the Star. In 1985 she emigrated to London to study at the London College of Printing. Her portraits have appeared in many publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Interview. She has worked on campaigns for Comic Relief, The Dogs Trust, The National Portrait Gallery, Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO, UNICEF, Save The Children Fund, The Royal Shakespeare Company, SONY and TESCO.
She has received several awards including the Kodak UK Young Photographer of the Year in 1986, Photographers' Gallery Portrait Photographer of the Year Award 1990, the Visa d’Or at the International Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan in 1997, the European Final Art Polaroid Award in 1999, the John Kobal Book Award 2003.
Between 1996 and 2002 she returned to South Africa frequently to document the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Her award-winning book Truth and Lies, shot in large format was published by Granta in 2002. Her photographs have been exhibited internationally at venues including the National Portrait Gallery, The Photographers' Gallery, The Royal Academy New Art Space, the Tom Blau Gallery in London, the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, France, the Bensusan Museum,Johannesburg, Robben Island Museum in Cape Town, South Africa and Dali International Photography Festival, Yunnan Province, China.