Jeanloup Sieff was born in Paris on Novemeber 30, 1933, the child of Polish parents, and he began to study philology after finishing secondary school. After abandoning this subject, Sieff tried out various others at a number of universities and schools. For example, he studied photography at the Vaugirard School in Paris for three weeks, and then seven months in Vevey, Switzerland; he also enrolled in a journalism school for just ten days. He ultimately decided on a career in photography, working on his own starting in 1954.
Within a short time he joined the staff of "Elle" magazine, first as a photojournalist, and later as a fashion photographer. After leaving "Elle", he joined the "Magnum photographic agency" in 1958 and traveled for a year through Turkey, Poland, Greece, and Italy.
In the following year he first began doing advertising photography. Between 1961-1956 he lived in the U.S.
Jeanloup Sieff did photography for the fashion and advertising industries, and directed a well-known ad campaign for Yves Saint Laurent, for which the designer himself posed as a nude model. In 1966 Jeanloup Sieff returned to Paris and opened his own studio, concentrating on advertising photos and films. However he also free-lanced for "Elle", "Vogue", "Nova", "Glamour", and other magazines, took part in exhibitions, and published several books.
Jeanloup Sieff is known mainly for his photography of nudes and fashion models; however he also did outstanding portraits and landscape photography. Typical of his photographs are the use of wide-angle lenses and soft contours. His landscape photography exhibits a masterful play with solids, light, and shadows.
Jeanloup Sieff was also interested in the history of photography and demonstrated his narrative abilities in his autobiography, "Demain le temps sera plus vieux" (Tomorrow the time will be older).
He died in Paris on September 20, 2000.