Irmeli Jung was born in 1947 in Tampere, an industrial city in southern Finland, to an unknown father. Her mother Irja Jung was a nurse in a psychiatric hospital. At the age of thirteen months she was placed in an Adventist foster home and grew up with their other children.
It was at the age of 13 that she finally moved in with her mother. She discovered photography at her school's photo club, photographing insects and flowers, and learned how to develop film and make prints.
In 1965, she moved to Hanover in Germany where she lived in a Salvation Army home. To make a living, she made deliveries for a photographic laboratory. She enrolled in a vocational school and apprenticed with Kurt Julius, photographer of the Hanover State Opera. After three years, she graduated from the Hanover Chamber of Crafts with a first prize as a portrait photographer and found a job in an advertising agency.
In January 1968, while staying in Paris, a friend invited her to attend a Juliette Gréco concert. She was captivated by the artist and bought all her records. The following year, at the end of a rehearsal, Gréco having discovered her work, accredited her for her new recital. Irmeli decided to leave Hanover and move to Paris with the aim of writing a book about Gréco, for whom she became the official photographer.
She met Michel Célie, the director of Disques Déesse, in a restaurant in Montmartre. He introduced her to Raoul de Godewarsvelde who commissioned her first photograph for a record cover. This was the beginning of a long collaboration with artists such as Georges Moustaki, Mouloudji, Maurice Dulac, Barbara or Jacques Brel for whom she was to produce numerous record covers. In October 1984, she learned that « Le Monde des livres » has decided to publish her photos, and came to present her portfolio. Since then, Irmeli
Jung has photographed dozens of authors and has regularly worked for many publications and publishing houses. In 1994, she was invited to teach portraiture at the École nationale supérieure de la photographie in Arles (France).
In 2006, she made the official portrait of the President of the Finnish Republic, Tarja Halonen at the beginning of her second term.
Irmeli Jung has been exclusively distributed by the Roger-Viollet Gallery since 2022.