Aug 17, 2023 - Sale 2644

Sale 2644 - Lot 181

Price Realized: $ 3,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 5,000 - $ 7,500


An archive of 15 photographs from the Baltimore Portraits series, half with the photographer's extended captions.
Silver prints, the images measuring 127x89 to 238x155 mm; 5x3 1/2 to 9 3/8x6 1/8 inches, and one the reverse, the sheets 254x203 mm; 10x8 inches, the largest also mounted 286x216 mm; 11 1/4x8 1/2 inches, 9 with Badertscher's initials, title, and date, and all but one of these with an extended caption in ink on recto. 1976-1994.

Amos Badertscher is a self-taught photographer from Baltimore who made portraits of members of his community, subjects who were then on the margins of society. The images of transvestites, strippers, drug addicts, drag queens, and hustlers represent a sector of the population rarely documented or recorded. The series spans a 20-year period from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. The images were made in a studio, at night clubs and gay bars, and in other locations where the subjects lived and frequented. It would be a disservice to categorize Badertscher's work as documentary in nature—the work is not subjective, the imagery imbued with feeling: love, rage, humor, defiance, with an insider's familiarity and participation.

The images were often accompanied by handwritten narratives and notations about their subjects. Often poetic, the captions reveal something about the sitter, or about the relationship between Badertscher and the sitter. They are sometimes imbued with tragedy, but also with a matter of factness that challenges the viewer's sense of morality or understanding. Above all, the images capture the assertiveness, joie de vivre, and presence of the sitter. The people in these photographs cannot be ignored.