Close Up Baltimore was founded in July 2015 as a response to the one-dimensional media coverage of Baltimore following the city’s unrest in April 2015 after Freddie Gray’s death in police custody. Though Baltimore is a city that grapples with a variety of challenges, the city contains multitudes that go unseen by those who define it by the violence and divisions they see on TV.

The project began with a collaboration between our founder, Meryam Bouadjemi, and a single photographer, Joe Rubino, collecting stories and portraits of a wide range of Baltimoreans. In the spring of 2016, Close Up Baltimore expanded the project to include eleven new photographers from across the city to document the communities that they know best.

Close Up Baltimore has been profiled by NPR, Baltimore Style MagazineInternational Business Times and WBALT-TV.





“I read your stories and comments and you are all pretty remarkable people and such an inspiration of resilience of the human heart, perseverance, and hope. May God touch you as you have me. Hugs coming your way.”

— Wayne Kennard


“Thank you for building the peace in our beloved city. Your work is critical.”

— Jo Brown


“Love is love is love is love is love is love is love. And it is shining from this picture. Thank you for sharing a bit of that love with us.”

— Sarah Sette