By Jessica Pitocco
Photo courtesy of Bill Foley
Bill Foley, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and photojournalist, is the visiting instructor for the October 27th FUA photography seminar, The Light of Florence and Tuscany. Foley says photography is all about light; the quality, direction and intensity (and even timing) of the light all play a role in the finished photograph.
“Light can be great/sort of great or terrible, and it’s up to the photographer to make the best photograph using the “available” light, or when possible, waiting, as it will change! I have been to Florence and Tuscany on a few occasions since 1978 and find the light in that area to be magnificent, especially in the late fall,” Foley notes about Florence’s advantage as a location in comparison to his other courses as a professor at Mariam University.
Since 2007, Foley has overseen the studio and darkroom facilities at Mariam University, as well as teaching all the photography classes in the Visual and Creative Art Department. His first teaching gig, after traveling the world as an award winning photojournalist, was as a professor at NYU in the Tisch School of the Arts. “I have always enjoyed talking about photography as well as teaching and discovered I really enjoyed it and I learn as well as my students in the process,” Foley says of discovering his love for teaching.
Having worked in 47 countries, Foley said his time in Egypt and Lebanon had a large influence on his work and how he saw the world because of his extended time there. His Pulitzer Prize winning series of a refugee camp in Lebanon and the last shot of the assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat are just two examples of the work he cultivated while under extreme, and sometimes dangerous, circumstances.
“When I ‘discovered’ photography, photojournalism was the photographic style/genre that was most interesting to me. The idea of the visual documentation of people and their myriad stories fascinated me and as a young student; I saw photojournalists telling important stories and driving change through their images-be it WWII, the American depression in the 1930’s, Vietnam or the struggle for Civil rights,” Foley adds.
The best advice Foley can give to an aspiring photographer or photojournalist? Foley says not to give up: “Their biggest challenge? There are fewer ‘staff’ positions for photojournalists and many newspapers have let the photographers go and provided camera phones to reporters! That said, there are opportunities for the photographer/photojournalist who is willing to work hard and make sure his or her work stands out in today’s visual environment.”
Find out more about Bill Foley at his website.