Jack Welpott became a photographer and a professor of photography after serving in the South Pacific during World War II. With the help of the G.I. Bill, Welpott was able to earn a M.F.A. degree from Indiana University. He was one of the first students from his university to graduate with a Masters of Fine Arts degree.
During his collegiate years, Welpott met Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Minor White. These men along with Welpott would go on to be pioneers of American education in photography. In 1959, Welpott began teaching photography at San Francisco State University. He remained in that teaching position for 33 years. While he taught, he built his own photographic portfolio. He explored San Francisco’s world of Beat culture: jazz, poetry, art, and revolution. During those years he met Ansel Adams, Ruth Bernard, and Dorothea Lange. Later on, Welpott became interested in the psychoanalytic theories of Carl Jung. He incorporated his ideas into his own photographic career, taking pictures that dealt with dreams, symbolism, and the unconscious mind.