I have spoken very briefly about Claude Cahun before, but really she deserves much more attention. Born Lucy Renee Mathildde Schwob, she began creating photographic self portraits in 1912 when she was 18 years old. Around 1919, she settled on the pseudonym Claude Cahun, intentionally selecting a sexually ambiguous name, after having previously used the names Claude Courlis and Daniel Douglas. During the early 20s, she settled in Paris with her life-long partner and stepsister Suzanne Malherbe. For the rest of their lives together, Cahun and Malherbe, or Marcel Moore, collaborated on various written works, sculptures, photomontages and collages.
In many ways, Cahun's life was marked by a sense of role reversal, and her public identity became a commentary upon not only her own, but the public's notions of sexuality, gender, beauty, and logic. Her adoption of a sexually ambiguous name and her androgynous self-portraits display a revolutionary way of thinking and creating, experimenting with her audience's understanding of photography as a documentation of reality. Her poetry challenged gender roles and attacked the increasingly modern world's social and economic boundaries. Also Cahun's participation in the Parisian Surrealist movement diversified the group's artwork and ushered in new representations. Where most Surrealist artists were men, and their primary images were of women as isolated symbols of eroticism, Cahun epitomized the chameleonic and multiple possibilities of the female identity.(this is jersey)