Jay Wolke lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. He has had solo exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the St. Louis Art Museum, Harvard University and the California Museum of Photography. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Three monographs of his work have been published: All Around the House: Photographs of American-Jewish Communal Life (Art Institute of Chicago, 1998), Along the Divide: Photographs of the Dan Ryan Expressway (Center for American Places, 2004) and Architecture of Resignation: Photographs from the Mezzogiorno (Center for American Places, 2011). Kehrer Verlag will publish his fourth monograph, Same Dream Another Time, in 2017.

Wolke received his B.F.A. in Printmaking / Illustration at Washington University, St. Louis, and an M.S. in Photography at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. Since 1981 he has taught photography and art at various universities. From 1992-1999 he was Coordinator of Graduate Documentary Photography at the Institute of Design (IIT). In 1999-2000 he was Head of Art and Graduate Studies at Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy. He is currently a Professor of Photography at Columbia College Chicago, where he also served as Chair of the Art and Design Department from 2000-05 and again from 2008-14. Wolke has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, Focus Infinity Fund and the Ruttenberg Arts Foundation. His photographs have appeared in numerous publications including Geo France, New York Times Magazine, Financial Times Magazine, Village Voice, Exposure and Architectural Record.