Cathy Cade first saw the power of photography in 1962, when she was working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a civil rights organization in Atlanta. Renowned photographers would use the office’s photo lab, developing photos that they’d use to gain support for the movement across the country.
“But I didn’t think I could be a photographer because I was a woman,” Cade said. “That’s what it was like back then.”
Cade, now 77, began taking photos in 1971 — the same year she came out as a lesbian — and in the decades since, has focused on documenting the Bay Area’s lesbian community, photographing moments from California’s earliest Pride parades to women working as mechanics to the 2011 Occupy movement.
In 2012, UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library acquired Cade’s full photo archive. It’s the library’s only full archive from a lesbian photographer. Cade says she hopes the photos will help future generations understand “where we were and what we’ve done.”