About the Photographer
American, b. 1955
It's about coming together and letting go.
— Bill Jacobson, 1995
Bill Jacobson is well known for a body of work that negates (through the application of a defusing lens) the specificity of photographic vision in favor of an immateriality of light and form. In the past his black and white pictures of isolated subjects suggested actions, moods, even narratives that were ethereal, haunting, and momentary. If his photographs were likened to poetry, Jacobson would be a symbolist rather than a realist.
His first series to feature soft-focus images was 1992-1993's Interim Portraits. Interim Couples, Songs of Sentient Beings, and Thought Series followed, the last marking Jacobson's first departure from the human subject. In the body of work that includes 2000's Untitled, #3830, Jacobson took his camera to the streets of New York and, working in color, captured the prismatic effects of light washing over the active forms of the city. Untitled, #3830 immediately recalls the palette and compositions favored by Edward Hopper and, as a consequence, seems a messenger – or a memory – from an earlier time.
Bill Jacobson was born in 1955 in Norwich, Connecticut. He earned a BFA in Art and American Studies from Brown University (1977) and an MFA in photography from San Francisco Art Institute (1981). Since 1980 he has exhibited extensively in both group and one-person shows. His work is included in such public and museum collections as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; New York Public Library; and Victoria and Albert Museum, London.