Bill Foley, ’77, BA’07, left IU before finishing his degree and traveled on a $99 one-way ticket to Europe, where he landed a job with The Associated Press. Soon, he was traveling all over the world covering history in the making.
He was in Cairo in 1981 when Egyptian president Anwar Sadat was assassinated and when Hosni Mubarak became president. He photographed the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for spot news of victims and survivors of a massacre in Beirut.
Foley left the AP in 1984 and worked for six years as a contract photographer for Time. He has photographed and worked on book projects for numerous nonprofit and humanitarian organizations. Foley’s work is part of the Children’s Aid Society’s Carmel Hill project, which sought to capture one block of Harlem over a five-year period.
In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Foley received the Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists in 1991. In 1988, he received both the Associated Press Managing Editors Association News Photography Award and the National Press Photographers Association Award of Excellence.
Since 2000, Foley has been an educator as well as a photojournalist. He taught photography at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts for five years and is currently an assistant professor of photography at Marian University in Indianapolis.
The former Indiana Daily Student staff member returned to IU to finish his degree in political science and telecommunications in 2007.
Foley has advice for young photographers, which he shared in a recent issue of Newswire, the school’s alumni magazine. He urged them to study languages, history and political science.
“You have to understand the way the world works if your pictures are really going to tell a story,” he said.
Foley has watched photography morph from the darkroom days to the digital era, which he views as a double-edged sword. While digital photography opens the field to more people, it doesn’t focus on fundamentals, such as lighting and storytelling, he told Newswire.
“There’s a difference between doing it and doing it right,” he said. “If you want to do it right, you have to learn how to communicate with pictures.”