Jerry Berndt grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His photographs appeared in major magazines in Europe and the United States. A 2009 book, Insight (Steidl & Partners, 2009), contains photographs from his work from the 1960s to the 1980s. He received a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Fellowship for his book, Missing Persons. He taught photography at the Art Institute of Boston and the University of Massachusetts. His photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts; The Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Texas; the International Center of Photography, New York City; and the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France.
Berndt collaborated with Donald Miller and Lorna Touryan Miller on several projects, including a photo essay and exhibition, Orphans of the Rwanda Genocide (in partnership with the California African American Museum) and a book, Armenia: Portraits of Survival and Hope, (University of California Press 2003). Berndt died in Paris in July of 2013.