Claude Cahun (Photofile)

François Leperlier

The perfect primer on the surrealist writer and photographer Claude Cahun.

Claude Cahun (1894–1954), the chosen name of the artist Lucy Schwob, was best known in her lifetime as a writer but built up a remarkable body of photographic work that only came to prominence after her death.

Politically active and involved with a wide circle of artists and intellectuals, including the surrealists, Cahun followed her own rules in both life and art. She is best known for her strikingly staged self-portraits, in which she used costumes, makeup, and technical effects to tackle themes of identity and self-representation. Her love of symmetry, mirroring, repurposing, and retouching was also reflected in her approach to other styles of photography, including portraiture, photomontage, and still-life tableaux.

Whether working alone or in collaboration with her life partner, Marcel Moore (born Suzanne Malherbe), Claude Cahun was a pioneering figure in the aesthetics of modernity who never stopped crossing boundaries of gender and genre.


François Leperlier

Introduction By

François Leperlier is a French writer, essayist, poet, philosopher, and art historian, known especially for his work on the surrealist writer and photographer Claude Cahun. He has dedicated a large part of his life's work to the rehabilitation and recognition of Cahun's creative works, having rediscovered her nearly forty years after her death in 1954.