“Revolutionary” photo book of lesbians reissued for the first time since 1979

Where there was absence, Joan E. Biren saw potential. As a lesbian and photographer in the early 1970s, Biren, who goes by JEB, said she was dismayed at the dearth of images that truly reflected her life and the lives of so many in the lesbian community. So, around 1970, she borrowed a camera from a friend and simply held it out at arm’s length as she and her lover at the time kissed. While the image wouldn’t look out of place today, it was a radical act at the time. JEB, who is 76 years old, declared it her “first lesbian photograph.” It was that self-portrait that would launch her on a photographic odyssey to visually document the lesbian community. The years long endeavor culminated in her self-publishing a book of photographs, “Eye to Eye: Portraits of Lesbians,” in 1979. Now, the book has been reissued by Anthology Editions for the first time since its initial release. “Eye to Eye” had a profound impact for its time. And the images are breathtaking. “Eye to Eye” was a watershed moment — and one of deep personal significance for the women whose lives were depicted on its pages. When the book was published in 1979, the book was priced at $8.95, which was a considerable amount of money for many at the time. You can see more of these images at Biren social media and the book is available from many book providers.

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