Queer Baltimore
The photography of Amos Badertscher
in Sex in the archives
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This chapter examines the work of the Baltimore photographer Amos Badertscher. Although he could never have comprehended it when he began his venture, indeed was not even aware that there was such a project, his total output is a forty-year chronicle of Baltimore’s sexual cultures from the 1960s to 2005, through its much-publicised, inner-city disintegration. It is the most extensive photographic record of the short lives of hustlers (male sex workers) that we know of. But it is much more than that. Badertscher began in the 1960s with Polaroids and other photographs of his hustler sexual contacts. He moved on to more formal portraits of male prostitutes and their girlfriends, transgender, the 1990s Baltimore (and Washington) club culture, and then to charting the drug-addled hustling of the post-industrial city. While he felt out of place in ‘normal’ society, he was completely at home with those on that society’s borders. He felt comfortable on the street. The result is what has been described as ‘an archival record of a city and its illicit fringe culture’. The authors, who have interviewed Badertscher and been given access to his vast archive, discuss the work of this remarkable photographer.

Sex in the archives

Writing American sexual histories

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