The fourth annual Jim Marshall Fellowship for photojournalism has been awarded to second-year student Drew Costley. Costley, originally from Arlington, Va., has redirected his energies to photojournalism after having focused on writing for 15 years.
“I chose photojournalism because I want to visualize the stories of those who have spent too long living in the shadows, ignored by the majority of the press,” said Costley.
The $10,000 fellowship is named after famed celebrity photographer, Jim Marshall, who through the 1960s and ‘70s gave the world some of the most iconic photographs of musical trailblazers such as Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, The Beatles and others.
“The fellowship was created to support students pursuing photography and help them financially as well as have them assist with our gallery, photo events and classroom activities,” said Ken Light, Reva and David Logan professor of photojournalism. Funding for the past three years’ fellowships was provided by the Toyota Foundation, former reporter and legendary ad-man Jeff Goodby, and other individual donors. This year, Goodby was joined by Wells Fargo, with funds contributed through Jim Marshall’s estate.
Costley’s interest in journalism dates back to high school. When he was a junior, his English teacher noticed his knack for socializing and carrying on side conversations in class, a trait Costley says reflects his desire to connect with people and the world around him. She suggested he join the school’s newspaper staff, and since then, he has embraced the world of journalism.
“I chose journalism because we have the ability to transmit and preserve knowledge and illuminate injustice in the world, and I want to carry on that tradition,” he said.
By pivoting into photography, Cosley hopes to give this ambition a greater visual power. “I want to help create a space of visual agency for oppressed people that’s not just a gawk or gaze, but captures us in our multitudinous essence and allows us to have more control of our own narratives,” he said.
Within the School, Costley’s student activities enable him to pursue these goals beyond his camera lens. He is co-chair of the Equity and Inclusion Committee, which serves as a liaison between students and the School’s administration on matters of diversity, equality and more.
This past summer, Costley won three National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Salute to Excellence Awards–for best use of multimedia, best online feature reporting and best photography for an audio slideshow that he shot, edited and produced. Recently, his photograph of a sickle cell anemia patient got front-page placement in The East Bay Express.
When asked how the School has helped him identify and achieve his goals, Costley described his interactions with fellow students and faculty as a major catalyst. “J-School professors like Kara Platoni, Ken Light, Andrés Cediel, and Richard Koci Hernandez have helped me figure out how to focus my creative energy in the short term while not losing sight of longer-term goals,” he said.
“Having a fellowship this generous to help students develop strong visual journalism has been a huge plus for the School,” said Dean Ed Wasserman, adding that the fellowship extends beyond financial support and by indicating a powerful vote of confidence in the honoree. “I am very pleased to see this year’s Marshall go to such a tremendously hard working and accomplished young journalist as Drew Costley.”
–Javaria Khan (’19)
Support the next generation of photographers by donating to the Jim Marshall Fellowship at UC Berkeley today.