By far the most common online images of Suzanne Verdal, she who inspired the classic song “Suzanne” by proffering tea and oranges to Leonard Cohen, are those captured many years after “Suzanne” was written and Cohen and his muse had gone their separate ways. (This is a simple hypothesis to confirm; just perform a Google image search for “Suzanne Verdal” – and then eliminate the photos of Suzanne Elrod, Judy Collins, and Sylvie Simmons that also turn up.) Almost all of these have been taken to illustrate human interest stories of the “Where Are They Now?” ilk (the earliest of these plus links to others can be found at Now Online: “Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne Still Loves Life and Dance”.
Having grown curious about the appearance of Suzanne Verdal during the time she and Leonard Cohen were in contact, I tracked down four photographs of her that are roughly contemporaneous, having been taken in August 1966 (“Suzanne” was first published as a poem in 1966 and released on Songs Of Leonard Cohen in 1967). While the costuming and artistic flourishes are a tad distracting, these shots do provide a picture of Suzanne as Leonard Cohen knew her. (Also see 3 Photos (1956, 1961, 1967) Of Armand Vaillancourt: Sculptor, Leonard Cohen’s Friend, & Suzanne Verdal’s Husband)
These photos can be viewed in larger format at Four 1966 Photos Of Suzanne Verda
Credit Due Department: This photo was taken by Jeremy Taylor in August 1966 and is archived at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography.