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Stephen Marc is a Professor of Art in the Herberger Institute’s School of Art at Arizona State University, and a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow. Marc began teaching at ASU in 1998, following 20 years at Columbia College Chicago. During Spring 2022, he was honored as the third Stuart B. Cooper Endowed Chair of Photography at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. Marc received his MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia, PA; and his BA from Pomona College in Claremont, CA.

Marc is a documentary/street photographer and digital montage artist who was raised in Chicago, IL and considered Champaign, IL his home away from home. His most recent book: American/True Colors (2020) that addresses who we are as Americans from an African American perspective, became a 2021 IPPY Gold Medalist (Independent Publishers Book Award) for the Best Book of the Year in the Photography category. Marc’s three earlier books include: Urban Notions (1983); 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). Since 2008, Passage on the Underground Railroad has been 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. I have photographed special 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. Since 2019, I have been creating a series of digital “street story montages,” because 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 merge images to extend the visual narrative, considering the constructive nature of memory as an informed witness.

While my recent book American/True Colors only contained photographs, the upcoming Street Cat Tales and Tangled Times will be a combination of digital montages and photographs. While I have traveled across the country numerous times, living in the Phoenix area has greatly impacted my work. Arizona is a rapidly growing battleground state, and Phoenix is not only the fifth largest city in the country, but also the largest state capital city. As a result, events in Arizona often reflect what is happening on the national stage, and sometimes Arizona is the focal point.