087 - Jillian Edelstein


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Jillian Edelstein grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and began her photographic career learning the ropes by assisting before becoming a newspaper press photographer in Johannesburg. After which she moved to London to attended the London College of Printing's photojournalism course. It was while she was still studying that she began getting commissions from The Sunday Times.

Her portraits have appeared internationally in just about every major publication you can name, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The FT Weekend Magazine, Vanity Fair, Interview, Vogue, Port, The Guardian Weekend, The Sunday Times Magazine, Time, Fortune, Forbes, GQ and Esquire and her photographs have been exhibited internationally including in the National Portrait Gallery, The Photographers' Gallery, The Royal Academy, OXO Gallery in London, Sothebys, and Arles, among others.

Jillian has received several awards including the Kodak UK Young Photographer of the Year, Photographers' Gallery Portrait Photographer of the Year Award, the Visa d’Or at the International Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan, and the John Kobal Book Award. Her work has been included in The Taylor Wessing Portrait Award twice, included in the World Press Awards twice and she was a finalist in the 2017 LensCulture Portrait Awards.

Jillian also judged the World Press Awards in 2014, and the Taylor Wessing Awards in 2010.

Between 1996 and 2002 she returned to South Africa frequently to document the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Her resulting award winning book Truth and Lies, shot on large format, was published by Granta, the New Press and Mail and The Guardian in 2002.

She is currently working on several photographic projects and a documentary film about the screenwriter Norman Wexler.

In episode 087, Jillian discusses, among other things:

  • The documentary she is making about Hollywood screenwriter Norman Wexler
  • Being driven and dogged
  • Here and There, her unpublished book project about her Aunt Minna
  • Apartheid South Africa
  • Coming to London, The Sunday Times and the Wapping dispute
  • Portrait work and building a folio
  • Having to rescue a shoot with Spike Lee
  • Her book on the The Truth and Reconcilliation Commission
  • Revisiting her Affinities project
  • Advice she’d give her 20 and 40 year old selves

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“Sometimes I’m like a rottweiler... It is that thing about being darned perisistant. You have to have the belief, you have to have the commitment, you have to have the perseverance and you have to at all costs believe that these things will prevail and will out. And there’s a lot of pushing to make them happen. I don’t want to make it sound tougher than it already is but it is true, I don’t think it’s an easy game...”

109 episodes available. A new episode about every 14 days averaging 75 mins duration .