Jelisa Peterson was born in Ogden, Utah in 1969. Her desire to take pictures at her first summer camp led her to ask for a camera at seven years old. But her real passion for photography was ignited when she moved to Zimbabwe to work as a volunteer intern 1993-1995, as Information Officer for their largest indigenous women’s organization.

Degrees in Anthropology and Women’s Studies also inform Jelisa’s approach to photography. She focuses her work on environmental portraiture. Her primary subject is children in Mozambique.
Jelisa has worked and lived in Argentina, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Over the past twenty-five years, she has spent more than twelve years in Africa. She has traveled extensively in Eastern and Southern Africa to thirteen countries primarily with her backpack.
Jelisa currently lives in Austin, Texas.  In 2020, she returned to make portraits in Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania.  She loved spending time with long time and new friends in her most treasured Africa.