Leo Dohmen (1929 – Borgerhout – 1999 – Antwerp) was with Raoul Ubac and Marcel Lefrancq one of the few representatives of the surrealist photography in Belgium. He was a legendary figure in the post-war Antwerp artistic circle. Because of his tumultuous and flamboyant lifestyle he was his friends gave him the nickname ‘the Pirate’. Dohmen was a man of seven crafts: chemist and engineer at Agfa Gevaert and Esso, a bartender from an illegal nightclub, an art dealer and a gallery owner and – especially – photographer.
In his surrealist photographs, collages and assemblages he was always looking for a shock effect that he reached through the combination of strange elements. He was inspired by Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, whom he often met. In 1959 he worked on the scandal film ‘L’imitation du Cinema’ with his eternal accomplice Marcel Mariën. Together with Mariën he also made the photo montage for the famous pamphlet ‘Grande Baisse’ (1962), which was ridiculizing the success of Rene Magritte.