Uelsmann was born in Detroit, Michigan, and developed an interest in photography as a high-school student, where he graduated in the first four-year degree program in photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and published his first image in Photography Annual of that year. Ralph Hattersley and Minor White were his major influences as teachers. He continued his studies in art history, and design, he worked under Henry Holmes Smith at Indiana University, where he received a M.F.A. degree in 1960Uelsmann was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for "Experiments in Multiple Printing Techniques in Photography".
What many people are now discovering to do on computers for art work, Jerry Uelsmann, now a professor and photographer in Florida did first in the darkroom. The photographs taken by Jerry N. Uelsmann show the surreal imagery of things that don't go together in the real world yet seem to mesh well in Uelsmann's photographs. All of his works happen to be black and white which in my opinion brings only more curosity to the spectator. who knows the true order of colors in a world that only exists through a visionary's camera. The way he evokes the dream world or the world evoked by the photographic negative is what makes the fantasy so real. Color would have competed with his imagery too much. You see a woman's body floating above the water or combined with the roots of a tree or a stairway seeming to reach all the way to the sky, to describe just a few of his works. These are all extra ordinary combinations and he must have spent many hours in a darkroom creating these photographs.Uelsmann's work was named one of the ten most collected in the country. I think any artist or photographer will be inspired by his work. .