Bill Jacobson

Bill Jacobson

Fellow: Awarded 2012
Field of Study: Photography

Competition: US & Canada

ICP/Bard College

Bill Jacobson (born 1955, Norwich, Connect) has been making photographs for nearly forty years.  Prior to moving to New York in 1982, he received a B.A. from Brown University (1977) and an M.F.A. from San Francisco Art Institute (1981).

In his application for the fellowship, Jacobson sums up his work as follows: “Inherent throughout is the dialogue between absence and presence, the constant fading of history, and the vagaries of human perception. Each body of work has references to our individual and collective memories, and the idea that we hold on to some images while, over time, let go of others.  For the past two and a half years, during two residencies at MacDowell and in my Brooklyn studio, I’ve been working on a new group of photographs titled Place (Series).  They are the result of inserting rectangles of various sizes and surfaces in both constructed and natural settings.  Ideally, they question what is ‘real’ and what is ‘abstract,’ while suggesting that places, and the act of placing, come from choice, and desire.”

Jacobson’s work is in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum; The Whitney Museum of American Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Brooklyn Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Victoria and Albert Museum; and many others. 


Recently he was invited to the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy, for the 2013/2014 season.   He has had six residencies at MacDowell Colony since 1996, and also been to Yaddo, The Edward Albee Foundation, and Blue Mountain Center.  Fellowships were awarded from the Aaron Siskind Foundation in 1995 and the New York Foundation for the Arts in 1994.  

Three monographs have been published of Jacobson’s work: bill jacobson 1989–1997, Twin Palms Publishers (Santa Fe) 1998; Photographs, Hatje Cantz Verlag (Stuttgart) 2005; and A Series of Human Decisions, Decode Books (Seattle) 2009.

An overview of Jacobson’s photographs since 1975 can be found on his website.


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