Photographer and second-year student Gina Pollack has been selected to receive the first Jim Marshall Fellowship for photojournalism.
Jim Marshall (1936-2010) was a renowned photographer who documented some of the music industry’s most notable events and artists. Some of his most famous works include photographs of the Beatles final concert in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, the 1969 Woodstock Festival, and a now-iconic image of Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar of fire.
Marshall’s exceptional work wasn’t confined to the music scene. His documentary photojournalism captured street life in San Francisco and New York, the despair of a Kentucky coal mining town, Mississippi civil rights demonstrations, and Johnny Cash’s groundbreaking live concerts for prison reform at Folsom and San Quentin.
Since his passing, Marshall’s long-time assistant and heir, San Francisco-based photographer Amelia Davis, has worked to continue his legacy. The Jim Marshall fellowship established in 2015 was created to raise financial support for students doing exceptional work in photography. Funding for the first year’s fellowship was provided by the Toyota Foundation and individual donors.
“Gina’s photography has strong composition, a strong sense of color, and a directness that is so important visually,” says the Logan Professor of Photography Ken Light, adding that her work also contains a strong storytelling element. “Jim had a dedication to showing the world around him, in his case it was music, shot through the lens of a journalist. Gina’s dedication to journalism and to the visual image made her a good choice.”
Pollack is a native of Los Angeles who has long been interested in the arts. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, on a scholarship, but later transferred to New York University. There she enrolled at the Gallatin School, an individualized study program where students create their own majors, and studied photography and creative writing. After graduating she took a number of odd jobs in New York including bartending, driving equipment trucks, and shooting concerts while pursuing her passion for the visual arts. She later landed a job as a studio assistant for the famed French street artist, JR.
“I started in his studio working on photoshop and printing, and sometimes I got to go out to wheat paste these huge portraits on walls in the South Bronx and lower Manhattan. It was a really bizarre experience, but totally new. I usually walked home covered in glue,” says Pollack.
Despite her respect for her boss, Pollack says she couldn’t see herself devoting so much time and energy to someone else’s career, and decided to focus on her own photography and writing. It was around this time she began working for the blog Greenpointers, where she worked her way up to News Editor before applying to the J-school.
“My reason for going to Berkeley was to give myself the space and time I knew I needed to create work that I was proud of, work that reflected who I was and what I wanted to say,” says Pollack, who is currently in her final semester of graduate school. “I’m so thankful to the Jim Marshall estate for creating this fellowship and to Professor Ken Light for bringing it to Berkeley.”
“Gina’s the talented beneficiary of an innovative fellowship fund created to honor the premier visual chronicler of the rock era, Jim Marshall,” says Dean Ed Wasserman. “The Marshall fellows help keep alive the tradition of professionalism and artistry in photojournalism, a tradition we at the Berkeley J-School hold dear.”
By Alex Kekauoha (’16)
The J-School’s goal is to raise between $500,000 and $1 million to support training in the visual arts. For information on how you can help, click here.
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