is a little-known French photographer from the mid 20th century. We was later considered to be a surrealist, but I don’t think he embraced the idea at the time.
His page on Wikipedia is woefully insufficient, so I’m going to attempt to work from memory here and tell you a little more about him. I have one book of his work at home, but it has been years since I read it.
He was not a professional photographer to my recollection, not in the sense that he did it to make a living. It was more for his own personal gratification.
Although he may not have known it at the time, Molinier was probably a transsexual. He seemed to be obsessed with the feminine side of his personality, and was a dedicated and enthusiastic cross dresser. To the small-minded, his work would be uncomfortably androgenous. But to him, they were probably critical to the expression of his feminine identity. Much of his work seems to be about identity, and the expressing or obfuscating of it.
Molinier was also obsessed with silk stockings, and would make dildos out of them (somehow), and photograph himself penetrating himself with them.
His ability to express sexuality and desire through photography is really quite astounding, considering his place in time, and the fact that he used a homemade pinhole camera for his work. He also developed his film in his apartment, and used his entryway light bulb and a makeshift enlarger to make prints.
It is perhaps this in itself that give Molinier’s photographs such a soft, ambiguous lighting, and their dreamy, inviting texture.
In 1976, at the age of 76, Molinier took his own life with a gunshot wound to the head. He had pinned a simple note to the door: I have taken my own life. The key is with the concierge.
Take a moment now to go to Google.com/images and do a search for his name. You’ll find several pages of samples of his work, though it is not by any means comprehensive or even his best.
You can find one article on him here
. I highly recommend you take the time to research this astounding man and find out more about him. There are much more erudite persons out there who could provide greater and more accurate info on him than I can.
It is a shame that this man’s life, artwork, and cultural contributions have remained in such obscurity.