Remembering Mark Power, Corcoran Professor and “The Father of Washington Photography"

Mark L. Power and wife, Virginia
August 28, 2020

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Mark L. Power. Mark was known as the “The Father of Washington Photography,” and in 1971, with Frank DiPerna and Joe Cameron, he began to develop and build the photography program at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. Generations of students were inspired by his encouragement, his kindness and his enthusiasm for technique. Professor Chan Chao, who got his start working in Corcoran’s photo lab under Mark, shares his memory below:


Thank you, Mark. To a young artist, your thoughtful and considered response to my work truly mattered. You challenged me with probing questions and encouraged me with supportive observations. Your contemplative pauses before dispensing your sentiments will always be remembered. Your views were a source of growth for me and many others. You have influenced and shaped many of us and we are all so grateful.  


Thank you for using your position and influence to promote a group of rising artists from Washington, D.C. You helped us take big step forward with your generosity. It was morale boost for us, and it kept us going. I deem myself lucky to be part of your selected group. I will forever see you as a guiding figure, but with time, you treated me as a contemporary. It meant a lot that you acknowledged my growth in that fashion.


Thank you for inviting me into you home in Norwich. You and your wife, Virginia, were warm and welcoming hosts. I truly enjoyed a glimpse into your retirement life in the UK countryside. When I requested a portrait sitting of you and Virginia, you gave me all the room and creative freedom. However, you were aware that I wanted a little guidance, too. I consider that portrait a collaboration. It will be a reminder of who you are. When you dropped me off at the train station, it felt like I was leaving home. Thank you for everything, Mark. You will be greatly missed.