Joan E. Biren photograph collection
Collection Scope and Content
This collection consists of photographs both black and white and color used in the exhibit Queerly Visible, 1971-1991: The Work of JEB (Joan E. Biren), A Washington Photographer, which appeared at The Gelman Library's Special Collections Department from September 4, 1997-February 28, 1998. The captions that were used in the exhibit have been included with each photo. These images relate to the gay and lesbian community in Washington, D.C. and throughout the United States.
- Biren, Joan E. (Person)
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research.
Restrictions on Use
None of the material in this collection may be reproduced. Copyright to these images is not held by George Washington University. Permission to publish must be obtained from copyright holder. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.
Joan Elisabeth Biren, also known as JEB, was born in Washington, D.C. on July 13, 1944. She has gained recognition as an outstanding documentary artist, and for over twenty years has been photographing, publishing and producing videos that chronicle the lives and times of lesbian and gay people.
As a video producer for the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, JEB was responsible for sending a live six-camera switched feed to giant screens on the Mall and around the world via satellite. Many commentators noted that this innovative use of the technology was brilliantly accomplished. JEB produced and wrote "A Simple Matter of Justice," the official video of the March. This one-hour piece was voted "Best Video" at the Reel Affirmations Film Festival in Washington, D.C.
With Moonforce Media, the company of which she is president, JEB produces, directs and edits videos. Recent projects include tapes on sexual harassment and city youth in performance. Moonforce Media and JEB have released "Lesbian Physicians on Practice, Patients and Power," which is widely used in medical schools, and For Love and for Life: The 1987 march on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which was broadcast on public television.
JEB is the author of two groundbreaking volumes of photography. "Eye to Eye: Portraits of Lesbians (1979)" is the pioneering photographic book that made lesbian existence and courage visible as never before. "Making a Way: Lesbians Out Front (1987)" is a beautiful, vigorous affirmation of lesbian lives that dramatically portrays 125 women. JEB's photographic work is in the collection of the Library of Congress, has been exhibited at the Lincoln Center in New York and published extensively in books, periodicals and newspapers, on music album covers, as well as on note cards, post cards and posters. Her multi-image slide presentations, which have toured throughout the United States, include the historical and autobiographical work OUT OF BOUNDS: A LESBIAN JOURNEY.
Biren has a B.A. with honors in political science from Mt. Holyoke College and an M.A. in communications from the American University. After three years in a doctoral program at Oxford University in England, she returned to the U.S. and taught herself photography working in a camera store and on a small-town newspaper. Since 1975, JEB has supported herself as a freelance photographer and independent videomaker.
1.5 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Collection consists of photographs both black and white and color used in the exhibit Queerly Visible, 1971-1991: The Work of JEB (Joan E. Biren), A Washington Photographer, which appeared at The Gelman Library's Special Collections Department from September 4, 1997-February 28, 1998. The captions that were used in the exhibit have been included with each photo. These images relate to the gay and lesbian community in Washington, D.C. and throughout the United States.
Organized in two series: Prints (11x14) and Prints (16x20).
This collection was donated by Joan E. Biren
Reparative Description Project
This finding aid was revised in 2022 to address problematic descriptive language related to disability. During that revision, description was not edited or removed, but additional information was provided to add context. The Historic Context note for this archival object explains the revision. To view the Historic Context note that discusses the revision use Mauve and Brenda building a boardwalk for the . . . . To view the finding aid prior to this revision work please use Pre-revision November 2022 finding aid of Joan E. Biren photograph collection
- AIDS (Disease) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Biren, Joan E.
- Brown, Rita Mae
- Gartrell, Nanette
- Gay men Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Gays Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Lesbians Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Lorde, Audre
- Lyon, Phyllis
- Martin, Del
- Mosbacher, Dee
- Photographs Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Protest movements Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Warhol, Andy
- Washington (D.C.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Guide to the Joan E. Biren photograph collection, 1971-1991
- Special Collections and University Archives, The George Washington University
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository
2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America