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On Our Backs pioneer photographer dies at age 69
Sep30

On Our Backs pioneer photographer dies at age 69

LAST UPDATED // Wednesday, 30 September 2015 17:22

Lesbian pioneer Honey Lee Cottrell has died at the age of 69 years old. Cottrell was a photographer for the visionary lesbian magazine On Our Backs.

Cottrell has donated her archives to the Cornell University Library Human Sexuality Collection.

The University said in a statement:

"A gesture in keeping with her lifelong goal of empathetically reflecting and documenting the lives and sexualities of the lesbian and gay community, beginning in an era when they were expected to live on the margins and in the shadows.

“Cottrell “revolutionized the female nude, validated women’s right to pleasure, and opened possibilities for women to see themselves and their desires in new ways through her engagement in a variety of feminist, artistic, and sex education projects.”

As part of her contributions to On Our backs Cottrell proposed a ‘Bulldagger of the Month’ centrefold. She explained:

“To stand this Playboy centrefold idea on its head from, I would say, a feminist perspective … what would I do if I was a centrefold and how can I reflect back to them our values?” .

Brenda Marston, curator of the Human Sexuality Collection, who visited Cottrell just weeks before her death said of her work:

“The whole notion of people who were unseen was something that motivated her throughout her life, from the time she came out in 1966. She didn’t see images of lesbians so she wanted to create them. Part of her intent all along was to leave a record.”

Cottrell former partner is Susie Bright also of On Our Backs fame. The couple have a daughter, Aretha.

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