Today is the 25th of October. This day marks the 127th birthday of the French photographer Claude Cahun. Claude Cahun was born as Lucy Renee Mathilde Schwob on this day in 1894. She was born into a common but noticeable intellectual Jewish family in Nantes, France. She is known as an author and self-portraitist, who expected a variety of performative personae. When this talented personnel was four years old, her mother, Mary-Antoinette Courbebaisse started experiencing mental illness. When her mom was absent, her grandmother Mathilde raised her.
At secondary school, Claude had experiences with anti-Semitism in Nantes. Then she went to a private school called Parsons Mead School in Surrey. After that, when she attained the proper age, she went to the University of Paris, Sorbonne. She started making photographic self-portraits at the age of 18 when the year was 1912. Along with that, she kept taking pictures of herself through the 1930s. In 1909, Claude Cahun came back to Nantes and met Suzanne Malherbe who ultimately became her stepsister along with her lifelong companion and collaborator. During the mid-1920s, Claude Cahun settled in Paris with Suzanne who adopted the pseudonym, Moore. At 14, they met Marcel Moore, who was to become their long-lasting and artistic partner.
When they were moving to Paris to study literature in 1919, Cahun and her associates shaved their heads. Along with that, they adopted their renowned gender-neutral in revolt against societal convention. As life moved on, Cahun and Moore teamed up on different written works, collages, photomontages, and sculptures. Cahun published a lot of works including “Heroines” (1925). It is a series of monologues dependent on female fairy tale characters entwined with clever correlations with the contemporary picture of ladies. Then came Aveux non avenus (Carrefour) in 1930. It is a book of essays and recorded dreams outlined with photomontages. Along with that came a few essays in journals and magazines.
In 1932, Cahun joined the Association des Ecrivains et Artistes Revolutionnaires. It was there that she met Andre Breton and Rene Crevel. After this, she started connecting with the surrealist group and later took part in various exhibitions. This included the London International Surrealist Exhibition in the New Burlington Gallery which happened in 1936. Along with it happened the Exposition surrealiste d’Objets in the Charles Ratton Gallery in Paris. In the spring of 1934, Claude met the founder of the Surrealists, Andre Breton who called her “one of the most curious spirits of our time”. Then she started to adjust herself all the more intimately with that movement.
Cahun worked with others to oppose the extremist occupation. The French government awarded their efforts with the Medal of French Gratitude in 1951. This famous personality died at the age of 60 on 8th December 1954 in Saint Helier, Jersey. Today, on her birth anniversary, Google featured an animated Doodle on its home page in various countries. In her self-portraits, Cahun introduced herself sometimes as a man, sometimes as a woman, and some of the times thoroughly androgynous. Therefore, it was difficult to decide her persona’s gender which is shown in the Google Doodle.