By Amber Wright
Photo courtesy of Bill Foley


Photographer Bill Foley has spent his life capturing iconic moments around the world. Known for his Pulitzer Prize winning series of a refugee camp in Lebanon and his iconic last shot of the assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Foley is no stranger to the art of photojournalism. Foley captured the relationship between newsworthy photography and artistic styles in his 2015 gallery titled “Art Meets News,” highlighting how curators are now seeing the beauty in photographs once only meant for magazines.

Foley now teaches at Marian University overseeing the studio and darkroom and teaching all photography classes in the Visual and Creative Art Department. During FUA’s October seminar week, Foley will be leading the one-day seminar on the “Light of Florence and Tuscany.” To get to know him and his style, we caught up with Foley and asked him a few questions.

To start with a few technical questions, how do you decide what photographs are in color or in black and white?
There were many factors that impacted the choice of color vs. black and white back in the day, now in the digital world, one can do both at the same time!

What are your feelings about cropping? Especially in reference to photojournalistic styles and keeping the integrity of what is happening in the image.
There is nothing wrong with cropping an image.

In your seminar you will be discussing equipment - what is your go to equipment and what can you not leave the house without?
Regarding Equipment, I use Canon cameras and lenses for the most part, and I do believe in keeping things simple. I have been advising photographers to use “prime” lenses vs. zoom lenses. I went back to my beginning a number of years ago and for the most part, have only used prime lenses - primarily a 50mm on a full frame digital body. The 50mm lens provides the same view as the human eye does.

Have you had a moment in your career that has stood out above the rest? Have you had a favorite photograph?
There are many moments that stand out over the past nearly 40 years and it would be hard to pick, but there are two days that have particular significance - Oct 6th, 1981, 35 years ago when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated and October 23, 1983 when the US Marines serving as peacekeepers in Beirut were the victims of truck bomb that drove into the Marine base at Beirut International airport - 241 US Marines died in the blast.

There are stories of times you’ve had a gun to your head - how do you find the courage to stay in the area and keep taking photos?
It’s what we do, and while there have been a few “heart stopping” moments, I believed it was more important to tell the stories than not.


Garry Winogrand suggests for photographers to emotionally detach themselves from their images. Do you agree with him, especially shooting in war zones?  
I find it impossible to believe that one can do really good work if one is detached. Photographers and writers are human, and I believe that being human is what makes the work valuable.

Foley’s seminar will be on October 27th at 9am. To sign up, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.