Jillian began working as a press photographer in Johannesburg, South Africa, then moved to the UK joining the first photojournalism course at the London College of Printing (London College of Communications). Her portraits have appeared in many publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The FT Weekend Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Interview, L’Uomo Vogue, Port, The Guardian Weekend, The Sunday Times Magazine, The FT Weekend Magazine, Time Magazine, Fortune, Elle, W Magazine, GQ and Esquire.
Her photographs have been exhibited internationally at venues including the National Portrait Gallery, The Photographers’ Gallery, Tom Blau Gallery, The Royal Academy, OXO Gallery in London, Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, France, Bensusan Museum, Johannesburg, Robben Island Museum in Cape Town, South Africa and Dali International Photography Festival, Yunnan Province, China.
Between 1996 and 2002 she returned to South Africa frequently to document the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Her award winning book Truth and Lies, shot in large format was published by Granta, the New Press and Mail and Guardian in 2002 – garnering several awards including the Visa d’Or /International Festival of Photojournalism Perpignan in 1997, the John Kobal Book Award, 2002 and an Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS).
In the run up to the Olympics 2012 Edelstein was commissioned by The National Portrait Gallery to produce a series of 17 portraits of those working to make the Olympic and the Paralympic Games happen. The Road to 2012: Aiming High was opened by the Duchess of Cambridge.
She is currently working on her next book Here and There: The Search for Great Aunt Minna (UnBound Publishers) exploring themes of loss, migration,displacement – and several photographic projects including a film documentary about the screenwriter Norman Wexler.