Though they never photographed together, Joan E. Biren (or JEB) and Donna Gottschalk are inextricably linked through their work. Biren—a renowned documentary photographer and filmmaker—first met Gottschalk—whose photography was only recently uncovered—in New York City around 1969 as young artists and activists for lesbian rights and representation.
Biren, who is originally from Washington, D.C., moved back there to begin organizing in earnest, and Gottschalk, enamored with her peer, followed. But Gottschalk grew tired of D.C. politics, and left for San Francisco in 1971, around the time that Biren co-founded The Furies, a lesbian-feminist collective. In 1979, Biren debuted her photography with the book Eye to Eye: Portraits of Lebsians, which focused on the daily lives, love, and rituals of queer women. It was the type of imagery that Biren never had access to when she was growing up.