Joan Marcus photographs

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Collection Data

Description
Joan Marcus is a prominent American theater photographer. The Joan Marcus photographs date from 1980 to 2019 and include images she took of hundreds of Broadway, Off-Broadway, and touring theatrical performances, as well as promotional portraits of actors, and other theater-related subjects. Photographic formats include black-and-white prints and negatives; color prints and negatives; color slides and transparencies; and digital image files. The Joan Marcus photographs are arranged in two series: Series I: Assignments and Series II: Negatives. Each series is arranged alphabetically by file name. File names supplied by the creator have been retained. Files are most commonly labeled with production titles, production company names, venue names, portrait sitters' names, or event descriptions.
Names
Marcus, Joan (Creator)
Marcus, Joan (Photographer)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1980 - 2019
Library locations
Billy Rose Theatre Division
Shelf locator: *T-Vim 2018-003
Topics
Rosegg, Carol
Experimental theater
Off-Broadway theater
Performing arts
Performing arts -- Photographs
Theater -- United States
Theater -- United States -- 20th century
Women photographers
Photographers
Genres
Theater programs
Photographs
Notes
Biographical/historical: Joan Marcus is an American theater photographer, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who graduated from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She has been based in New York City since 1986. In the 1970s, just after college, Marcus took a job printing photographs for Richard Braaten, the Kennedy Center staff photographer. Previously a hobbyist photographer, she thrived in the role, which introduced her to the theater world while deepening her technical skills. Marcus was promoted to chief production photographer at the Kennedy Center in 1985. The next year, she followed a touring production of Lillian to New York City to photograph it. There she met Adrian Bryan-Brown, a Broadway press representative, whom she would later marry. She relocated to New York City, and many other theatrical assignments soon followed. Fortuitous timing allowed Marcus and her friend and colleague, fellow theater photographer Carol Rosegg, to fill a void left by the retirement of acclaimed performing arts photograpaher Martha Swope in the early 1990s. Marcus and Rosegg shared an office and studio space for decades. Marcus has photographed over 500 major Broadway productions from the late 1980s onward, including M. Butterfly, The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Spamalot, Doubt, Jersey Boys, Rent, Gypsy, Cabaret, Mamma Mia!, and Angels in America. In 2014, Joan Marcus received a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre award. As of 2021, Marcus continues to live and work in New York City.
Content: The Joan Marcus photographs, dating from 1980 to 2019, include images she took of hundreds of Broadway, Off-Broadway, and touring theatrical performances, as well as promotional portraits of actors, and other theater-related subjects. The collection comprises original and duplicate photographic slides, prints, transparencies, negatives, and digital images created by Marcus over the course of her career as a theater photographer. The vast majority of images document live performances of plays and musicals. Many staged publicity shots and cast portraits are also included. Some individual headshot portraits of actors, playwrights, and directors are present, as are occasional images of rehearsals, backstage scenes, and other theater-related events. Most productions were staged in New York City though Marcus also occasionally shot performances in Washington, D.C., and touring productions as they travelled regionally around the United States. Productions of note include M. Butterfly (1988), The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Spamalot, Doubt, Jersey Boys, Rent, Gypsy, Cabaret, Mamma Mia!, and Angels in America. Marcus photographed many such popular productions repeatedly over the course of successive seasons running years or decades. The collection is divided into two series: Series I: Assignments and Series II: Negatives. "Assignments" is the term Marcus uses for her main work files. Files in this series are labeled by production name, theater company name, names of theater-related people or events, according to the details of each work assignment. Files in Series I principally hold slides, prints, and contact sheets. Occasionally, documents relating to shooting sessions or particular productions, such as invoices, Marcus's handwritten notes, playbills, cast lists, or programs are found in these files. In 2003 Marcus began using digital cameras. She was an early adopter to digital photography, making the transition from traditional analog processes gradually throughout the 2000s and 2010s. Although Marcus's electronic records are not yet accessible to researchers, Assignments files from 2003 onward may include digital images. Digital image files become more prevalent among Assignments as the years progress. Series II contains negatives corresponding to most, but not all, Assignments, especially those shot before the 2000s. The majority of negatives are black-and-white 35mm format. A smaller quantity of color 35 millimeter and 120 millimeter format is also present.
Restriction: Electronic records currently unavailable.
Physical Description
Extent: 141.83 linear feet (340 boxes); 29.68 terabytes
Type of Resource
Still image
Identifiers
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b22457278
MSS Unit ID: 24582
Archives collections id: archives_collections_24582
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 588394c0-bd93-0139-68f9-0242ac110004
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