Jill Connelly is a documentary photographer and educator based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, TIME magazine, Newsweek Japan, People, the Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe and many others. She has produced images for the Associated Press, Reuters, and Polaris and for five years worked as a contract photographer for the Los Angeles Times. Her images are included in the books “Wichita: Coming Home, Going Global” and “4:31– Images of the 1994 Los Angeles Earthquake.” Her work has also been exhibited in numerous group shows at galleries and other venues.
She has enjoyed photographing numerous celebrities, athletes and politicians, including Rosa Parks, Shaquille O’Neal and Bill Clinton, but her favorite stories are those of the ordinary people who have overcome hardships, and have interesting stories to tell of their journey along the way.
In 2010 Jill traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo and photographed the subjects of education, malnutrition, child soldiers, survival and sexual violence for UNICEF. Her current local project, “Living With the Dead,” explores cemeteries as places for celebrations of life, art, culture and history.
Jill teaches photojournalism at Pierce College where she is the Chair of the Media Arts department and advisor for the campus newspaper and magazine. She has also taught at Brooks Institute of Photography in Ventura, California and with the UCLA Student Media program. She has a master’s degree in Journalism with a photojournalism concentration from Boston University and a bachelor’s in Communication from State University of New York (SUNY) Plattsburgh, where she minored in Photography.
My work explores the moments of family life, with an emphasis on the mysteries of death and rituals of faith. My digital images are printed in black-and-white or color, depending on what fits with the mood of the project.
While working on a project, I shoot images, some of which I know belong right away. Others that I utilize as sketches, place holders representing an idea that hasn’t yet been fully realized. From my years working as a photojournalist doing daily assignments for editorial publications, I strongly believe that captions are critical in the telling of a story.
The concepts for my projects often come from those I meet in my life: family members, neighbors, colleagues and others I meet at work. My projects find me. My love of the documentary comes from the entry it gives me into people’s lives. I find it both and opportunity and a responsibility to tell their stories.