Past Exhibitions

Lost Boys: Amos Badertscher’s Baltimore

August 30–December 15, 2023

Lost Boys: Amos Badertscher’s Baltimore is the first career retrospective of artist Amos Badertscher (American, 1936–2023) in the United States. Between the 1960s and 2005, Badertscher documented hustlers, club kids, go-go dancers, drag queens, drug addicts, friends, and lovers who were part of LGBTQ+ life in Baltimore. A self-taught photographer, Badertscher worked on the fringes of the polite society into which he was born as an upper-middle class white Baltimorean. “Breaking all the rules of documentary photography,” as he has stated, he developed a signature style of spare portraits staged in his home studio. 

Taking his camera into the city’s clubs and gay bars, Badertscher recorded the shifting geographies and personalities of queer Baltimore pre-Stonewall and through the height of the AIDS epidemic. In the early 2000s, he captured the urban decay, economic devastation, and rampant drug use of sex workers in the city’s post-industrial landscape, in a body of work foregrounding aspects of Baltimore’s queer history that have rarely been acknowledged. Badertscher returns repeatedly to his personal photographic archive, inscribing his prints with handwritten notes on his subjects’ personal histories, filtered through his own recollections. This exhibition explores the power dynamics and desires embedded in his photographs, which memorialize people often marginalized by society.

Header image: Amos Badertscher, Voice Wafers in Time #1, 1975. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy Amos Badertscher Estate.

Black and white photograph of a young man, cut up, and put back together

Public Programming

LGBTQ+ Oral Histories: Ethics and Practice

Panel Discussion

September 28, 2023, 5pm

Reception to follow

Featuring Dr. Kate Drabinski (UMBC), Dr. Joseph Plaster (Johns Hopkins University), Hunter O’Hanian (Independent scholar and curator), and students of the 2023 Interdisciplinary CoLab, “LGBTQ+ Oral History Project.” This event is Co-sponsored by the Department of Gender, Women’s, + Sexuality Studies, UMBC.

Image: Amos Badertscher, Portrait of a Hustler, 1978. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy Amos Badertscher Estate.

Selected works

In Memoriam

Amos Badertscher | “Who Documented the Sexual Underground,” The New York Times August 9, 2023

Amos Badertscher | “Baltimore photographer who chronicled queer scene . . .,” The Baltimore Sun August 1, 2023

Amos Badertscher | “Remembering Amos Badertscher,” artnet News July 28, 2023

Amos Badertscher | “Amos Badertscher, photographer of Baltimore street life, 1936–2023,” ArtReview July 28, 2023

In Memoriam: Amos Badertscher (1936-2023) | CLAMP Art July 26, 2023