Born in Detroit in 1934, Jerry Uelsmann received his BFA degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1957 and his MS and MFA at Indiana University in 1960. The same year he accepted his first job offer to teach photography at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He became a graduate research professor of art at the university in 1974, and is now retired from teaching. Uelsmann lives in Gainesville with his wife, artist Maggie Taylor.
Uelsmann received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1967 and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1972. He is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, a founding member of the Society of Photographic Education, and a former trustee of the Friends of Photography. Uelsmann's work has been exhibited in more than 100 individual shows in the United States and abroad over the past 30 years. His photographs are in the permanent collections of many museums worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Chicago Art Institute, International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, Victoria and Albert Museum, Bibliothèque nationale de France, National Museum of American Art, Moderna Museet, National Gallery of Canada, National Gallery of Australia, Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), National Galleries of Scotland, the Center for Creative Photography, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, and National Museum of Modern Art (Kyoto).