Jamel Shabazz was born in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of fifteen, he picked up his first camera and started to document his peers. Inspired by photographers Leonard Freed, James Van Der Zee, and Gordon Parks, he was marveled with their documentation of the African American community. In 1980, as a concerned photographer with a clear vision he embarked on a mission to extensively document various aspects of life in the United States and abroad.
Shabazz says his goal is to contribute to the preservation of world history and culture. In the past 10 years he has had over two dozen solo exhibitions, and his work has been widely collected. Over the years Jamel has volunteered, working with a wide range organizations centered on inspiring young people in the field of photography and social responsibility. Shabazz is the author of 7 monographs.