“A few days before Christmas, 2004, I was diagnosed with lymphoma,” writes Jeff Jacobson in his preface to The Last Roll. The NY Times LENS Blog described Jacobson as “pushing the visual boundaries of photojournalism” in this work providing a first-person depiction of a cancer patient’s changing perspectives on life, death, art, and the world at-large.
A former Magnum photographer known for his quirky style, Jeff Jacobson was one of the first art photographers to use color film exclusively. For his 1991 book My Fellow Americans he traveled the country, capturing the look and mood of a decade. Over time, Jacobson refined his style by using Kodachrome 200. He pushed it two stops in the developing process, which yielded a grain more typical of black-and-white film. This became his look, his signature. After his chemotherapy treatments, confined indoors at his home in Mount Tremper, New York, he started making a visual diary. At first, he was just thinking in terms of individual images. Then Kodak announced it was ceasing production of Kodachrome, and the project acquired new layers. No longer just about moments of grace amid personal loss, it was now also about enshrining a part of photographic history. His new book, The Last Roll, was born.