An image from Michelle Citron’s film “Lives: Visible,” one of two documentaries to be shown Sunday at the Loft.

Not so long ago, lesbians and gays had to pretend they were something they were not.

But when they could be themselves, they had rich lives, often captured in photographs.

Those kinds of photographs are thefoundation of filmmaker Michelle Citron’s two documentaries, “Lives: Visible” and “Leftovers,” both of which will be screened at The Loft Cinema on Sunday, March 18.

In both films, Citron uses thousands of private snapshots of lesbians at work and play from the 1930s to the 1970s.

The photos were found in the Chicago home of an elderly lesbian couple after they died. Norma and Virginia had been together close to 50 years. They were quiet, but their photos spoke loudly of lives well lived.

“Leftovers” tells the story of the couple in their later years. “Lives: Visible” pans out to put their lives in context of their community.

“There is no collection like this that we know of that features what life was like for lesbians in the pre-Stonewall era,” Citron told Chicago’s Windy City Times.

“Norma took these snapshots with her brownie camera over a 40-year time span. I just felt that the first film was so much about them that a second film was needed to give them a context as well as showcasing Chicago’s pre-Stonewall working-class lesbian community.”

Citron will be at the screening.

The films, sponsored by Lesbian Looks and Southern Arizona Senior Pride, will be shown at 2 p.m. at the Loft, 3222 E. Speedway.

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@tucson.com or 573-4128. On Twitter: @kallenStar

Reporter

Kathleen has covered the arts for the Star for 20 years. Previously, she covered business, news and features for the Tucson Citizen. A near-native of Tucson, she is continually amazed about the Old Pueblo's arts scene and feels lucky to be covering it.