Cindy Sherman (b. 1954)

Biography

As one of the most respected and influential photographers of the twentieth century Cindy Sherman's work challenges and questions the roles of artists, women and the media on society.  Through her distinct style of posing as the subject in most of her photography, Sherman offers a new approach to her conceptual portraits.

Sherman was born in 1954 and grew up in Long Island, New York.  Interested in art at a young age, Sherman attended the State University of New York at Buffalo to study painting.  Sherman quickly became frustrated with the limitations she felt from painting and instead began to use photography as her creative outlet.  She studied photography for the remainder of her time at university, and during this time met fellow sutdent and artist Robert Longo.  Together they founded Hallways an independent artist space where she and other artists exhibited.  Upon her graduation in 1977 Sherman moved to New York and began to shoot her first series, Untitled Film Stills, for which she is most known.

In this series, Sherman poses as a model or subject.  She places herself in various roles and using her own possessions such as dresses, wigs and hats as props, transforms herself into an assortment of characters.  The scenes in this series are reminiscent of foreign films, Hollywood pictures, B movies and film noir.  Most of the photos were taken by Sherman and some by friends and family.  Untitled Film Stills examines the role of women in media and art and the power of the media to influence the identity of young women.  Her work uncovers the stereotypical roles of women seen in film and leaves the viewer free to construct their own narratives based on the characters as the images and titles remain unidentified.

In addition to her Untitled Film Stills, Sherman has produced several additional photographic series including Centerfold, Fashion Photograph, Historical Portraits and Fairytales and Disasters.  Sherman has also been successful working in further mediums such as photography on album covers, designing the stage backdrop for the band Babes in Toyland in 1990, directing the film Office Killers in 1997 and creating a series of fashion advertisements for Marc Jacobs in 2006.

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