Jillian Edelstein worked as a press photographer in Johannesburg, South Africa, before moving to the UK to join the first photojournalism course at the London College of Printing (London College of Communications).
Her portraits have appeared in many publications including The New Yorker; The New York Times Magazine; The FT Weekend Magazine; Vanity Fair; The Guardian Weekend; The Sunday Times Magazine; GQ and Esquire.
Edelstein has exhibited internationally including at the National Portrait Gallery; The Photographers' Gallery; Tom Blau Gallery; The Royal Academy; OXO Gallery, London, Les Rencontres D’Arles, France; Bensusan Museum, Johannesburg; Robben Island Museum, Cape Town, South Africa and Dali International Photography Festival, Yunnan Province, China.
Between 1996 and 2002 Edelstein returned to South Africa to document the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Her award winning book Truth and Lies, was published in Granta; the New Press; Daily Mail and The Guardian and won several awards including the Visa d’Or /International Festival of Photojournalism Perpignan in 1997; the John Kobal Book Award, 2002 and an Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS).
For the London Olympics in 2012 Edelstein was commissioned by The National Portrait Gallery to produce a series of portraits for the project The Road to 2012: Aiming High.
Edelstein is currently working on her book Here and There: The Search for Great Aunt Minna exploring themes of loss, migration and displacement.