Project Description

Particular Voices

Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers is an extraordinary visual record of the flowering of queer voices in the wake of the Stonewall Rebellion and AIDS crisis, while also paying homage to many earlier twentieth-century activists and writers who had contributed to gay, lesbian, transgender and queer cultures and communities.

In 1985, after attending a performance of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart—one of the first dramas dealing with the impact of AIDS on gay life—Robert Giard decided to turn his camera towards LGBTQ+ communities. Over two decades Giard photographed over 600 LGBTQ+ writers, from famous playwrights to emerging novelists, unsung poets, and pioneering performance artists. He kept a detailed diary of his portrait sessions, and corresponded with many of his subjects for years; this archival material, along with Particular Voices prints, can be found in the Giard archive at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

In 1998, the New York Public Library held an exhibition of 100 of the Particular Voices portraits. Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, featuring 182 portraits, was published by MIT Press accompanying the exhibition, and won a 1998 Lambda Literary Award for Photography and Visual Arts.