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A display in the Unscripted Moment exhibition.
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Unscripted Moments

The Life and Photography of Joseph Kohl; Presented November 2017-May 2018

Unscripted Moments: The Life and Photography of Joseph Kohl examined Baltimore in the 1980s and ’90s through the extraordinary eye of local photographer Joseph Kohl (1957-2002), one of Baltimore’s most distinctive and forward-looking photographers.

An Unabashed View of City Life

Saved from the landfill and sent to the Maryland Center for History and Culture by Kohl’s friends and family, the photos in Unscripted Moments (culled from the PP284 Joseph Kohl Photograph Collection) provided an invaluable and evocative record of the city drawn from Kohl’s professional work and personal snapshots, including many images never before published or exhibited.

Subjects ranged from political protests, sidewalk scenes, and animal curiosities, to the nighttime world of sex workers, BDSM play, and the underground music scene. Kohl’s warmly rendered portraits of friends, models, and strangers were a highlight of the show.

Like a time capsule from the end of the last century, Unscripted Moments offered a whirlwind panorama of city life during the Schaefer, Schmoke, and O’Malley mayoral years. What emerged was a vision of Baltimore that was open-hearted and raw, cosmopolitan, and compassionate alongside a portrait of a photographer who exposed his love for the city and all its variety in every shot.

Your History Lives Here

Since 1844, we have collected, preserved, and interpreted Maryland's diverse history, art, and culture. Visit and see it at the Maryland Center for History and Culture.

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