Stephen Marc


Stephen Marc is a Professor of Art in the Herberger Institute’s School of Art at Arizona State University, an ASU Evelyn Smith Endowed Professor of Art (2021-22), and a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow. Marc began teaching at ASU in 1998, following 20 years at Columbia College Chicago. He received his MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia, PA; and his BA from Pomona College in Claremont, CA.

Marc’s most recent book: American/True Colors (2020) addresses who we are as Americans in a polarized country with changing demographics, from an African American perspective. It was a 2021 IPPY Gold Medalist for best book in the Photography category. Marc’s three earlier books include: Urban Notions (1983), addressing the three Illinois communities where he had family ties; The Black Trans-Atlantic Experience: Street Life and Culture in Ghana, Jamaica, England, and the United States (1992); and Passage on the Underground Railroad (2009), digital composites that provide insight into the historic sites, and the institution of slavery. His Passage on the Underground Railroad is registered as Arizona’s first and only Interpretative Program of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom division of the National Park Service.

Artist Statement

As a documentary/street photographer and digital montage artist, my focus is on politically and culturally relevant gatherings, as part of my ongoing work that collectively addresses who we are as Americans. Since 2019, I have been creating a series of digital “street story montages” along with photographs of public space events and everyday life that explore what is proving to be pivotal time in this country’s history.

American identity is a cultural combination of reality, idealism and myth. How we shape our environment, define ourselves and recognize each other as Americans is culturally complex, socially charged, historically layered, and constantly in flux. As a photographer, I am interested in the photograph as an interpretative document; and as a digital montage artist, exploring the ways and reasons to combine photographs to extend the visual narrative, considering the constructive nature of memory as an informed witness.

This selection of work focuses on the African American community, where most of the photographs come from my recent book: American/True Colors.


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