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Kitty Tsui, from Portraits of Lesbian Writers, 1987-1989

Robert Giard started photographing gay and lesbian writers throughout the United States in 1985 and, by the mid-90s, had amassed over 500 author portraits, capturing some of the era’s most voices, such as Alan Ginsberg and Dorothy Allison.  Giard wanted to document the existence and triumph of these marginalized people who worked so tirelessly within a society largely ignorant to or resentful of their influence.

Before approaching an author, Giard would immerse himself in his or her work. Then, after ”a period of personal exchange and contact,” he’d arrange to travel to wherever the author wanted their picture taken (most charged their homes). 182 of the portraits appear in Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers.

Needless to say, I was excited to discover that 203 of the portraits are actually archived online at the New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery, and to kick off “The Way We Were”/Herstory Month, here are some of our favorite ladies from the photos Giard took in the late 80s.

Click for the rest of the portraits

oh wow some history

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