Amos Badertscher

Amos Badertscher (American, born 1936)

"Amos Badertscher is a self-taught photographer whose primary subjects are the young hustlers living on the fringes of his hometown, Baltimore, MD. Baltimore retained the working class, heterosexual hustling subculture of the pre-Stonewall era long after most American cities—a fast disappearing scene here often tied to various forms of drug abuse. The world that Badertscher photographs is brittle; his stark images made even more so by the incisive biographical narratives of his subjects that he often pens onto the photographs themselves. In many cases, Badertscher also records his own participation in the photography sessions, resulting in images that blur the distinction not only between the photographer and the model but also of the observer and the observed. The subject of a landmark exhibition at the Duke University Museum of Art, his work has been published in a catalog entitled Baltimore Portraits.
Badertscher has donated his life's work to the Leslie-Lohman Museum."

Vía: www.leslielohman.org

Publisher's Description:

"Baltimore Portraits is a unique presentation of photographs by Amos Badertscher. These portraits—many accompanied by poignantly revealing, hand-written narratives about their subjects—represent a sector of Baltimore that has gone largely unnoticed and rarely has been documented. In this volume, the assemblage of images of bar and street people—transvestites, strippers, drug addicts, drag queens, and hustlers—spans a twenty-year period from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. Badertscher’s arresting and melancholy photographs document a culture that has virtually disappeared due to substance abuse, AIDS, and, often, societal or family neglect.

The photographer’s focus on content rather than on elaborate technique reveals the intensely personal—and, indeed, autobiographical—nature of his portraits. Their simplicity along with the text’s intimacy affects the viewer in ways not easily forgotten. An introduction by Tyler Curtain contextualizes the photographs both within the history of Baltimore and its queer subculture and in relationship to contemporaneous work by photographers Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, Duane Michaels, and others. Curtain also positions the underlying concerns of Bardertscher’s art in relation to gay and lesbian cultural politics.

This striking collection of portraits, along with the photographer’s moving text, will impact not only a general audience of photographers and enthusiasts of the art but also those engaged with gay and lesbian studies, queer theory, and cultural studies in general. It is published in association with the Duke University Museum of Art."