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JAHAN, Pierre

PORTRAIT JAHANBorn in 1909 in Amboise.

Died in 2003 in Paris. 


Introduced to photography by his family at a very early age, Pierre Jahan received his first professional commission when he moved to Paris in 1933, through a meeting with ad-man Raymond Gid. In 1936 he joined the Rectangle group of photographers. This group, founded by Emmanuel Sougez, among others, encouraged him in his career as a photographer. During the Occupation, he worked for the magazine Images de France, making portraits of celebrity figures such as Colette, and he produced large series of pictures such as La mort et les statues, published in 1946 with a text by Jean Cocteau. They also co-published a book in which Cocteau’s poem Plain Chant is illustrated by photographed nudes (1947).

A passionate experimenter with a strong interest in Surrealism, Jahan produced many collages and photomontages, which he used freely for the many advertising commissions that came his way after the end of World War II. A committed activist for photographers’ rights, he helped to found the French federation of art photographers (FAPC), of which he became vice-chairman. In 1949 he joined the ’Groupe des XV’ alongside Robert Doisneau and Willy Ronis, among others, to lobby for the conservation of France’s photographic heritage. He took part in their exhibitions and in those held by the Salon National de la Photographie.


Pierre Jahan’s work was presented at the Rencontres d’Arles in 2010, at the Musée Réattu.