Cindy Sherman

31st January 2020

Cindy Sherman consciously played with the identity representations of women in movies by photographing herself in different female roles. Her later work makes use of prosthetic make-up, costume, props and sets to emphasise the ways women were represented in historic paintings…

… In staged photography you’re telling a story, a fiction that may have a connection to something real or true, however staged it is. All movies, plays and fictions, however far they depart from everyday reality, have a kernel of truth in them.

OCA Foundations in Photography Course Folder pg118-119

I actually find Sherman’s work creepy. I like the technique of the portraits above with the pure black background but apart from that they are horrid for me to look at.

The accompanying notes on the Tate’s website are:

In this series Sherman radically alters her appearance using make-up, hairstyles, hats and different facial expressions. She has explained, ‘I made [them] to show the process of turning one character into another. At that time I was merely interested in the use of make-up on a face as paint used on a blank canvas.’ Sherman’s self-transformation, combining evident staging with the successful portrayal of a character type, continues to be central to her work today.

Gallery label, 2011 Tate tate.org.uk

If you perform a Google search Cindy Sherman you are indeed with her self-portraits but they are so different it is amazing to comprehend.

Below is a screen shot of the first part of the Google search, images, and below this are images from the National portrait Gallery’s 2019 exhibition which shows the size of some of the work.

Google image search

There are many, many self-portrait photographs covering so many themes, historic eras and series, Sherman is definitely a prolific photographer. Her work is clever and thought provoking, some make my stomach churn as they remind me of those creepy comedians but as I look deeper into the variety there are some that I could like but it would be a push.

Creepy but clever.


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