Cindy Sherman

Topics: Cindy Sherman, Women photographers, Buffalo State College Pages: 5 (1789 words) Published: March 4, 2013
Cindy Sherman ranks as probably one of the best camera artists who use themselves as a medium of expression. Although he work consists of photographs of herself, her works should not be considered to be merely self-portraits: they are much more than that. She has transformed and staged herself as an unnamed actresses in undefined B-grade movies, make-believe television characters, pretend porn stars, undifferentiated young women in ambivalent emotional states, fashion mannequins, monsters from fairy tales and those which she has created, bodies with deformities, and numbers of grotesque images. Her works have been highly touted by a wide range of viewers, from feminist political groups to politically free mainstream artists, and her photography is an important expression of the investigation and culture of racial identity as well as sexual identity from 1970 on. It has been said that, "The bulk of her work has been constructed as a theater of femininity as it is formed and informed by mass culture..(her) pictures insist on the aporia [not sure about the spelling of this word] of feminine identity tout court, represented in her pictures as a potentially limitless range of masquerades, roles, projections" (Sobieszek 229). Although she is originally from New Jersey, Cindy was the youngest of five and spent her childhood in Long Island. Her favorite pastime was dressing in costumes and spending hours in front of a mirror in various poses. She was, indeed, self-involved. (Schjeldahl 7). Cindy Sherman attended the state University College at Buffalo, New York, where she first started to create art in the using painting as a medium. During her college years, she painted self-portraits and realistic copies of images that she saw in photographs and magazines. Over time, she became less and less interested in painting and became increasingly focuses in conceptual, minimal, performance, body art, and film alternatives (Sherman 5) Sherman's first introductory photography class in college was a complete failure because she had difficulties with the technological aspects of making a print. After her disastrous first attempt at photography, Sherman discovered Contemporary Art, which had a profound and lasting effect on the remainder of her artistic career (Thames and Hudson 1). Sherman's first assignment in her photography class was to photograph things which presented problems. Thus, Sherman chose to photograph herself naked. While this was difficult, she learned that having an idea was the most important factor in creating her art and not so much the technique she used. While she was talented at copying with pencils and paints, this artistic method would not allow Sherman to express herself personally. But with a camera, Sherman could use her body as a tool (Sills 64). The young artist became fascinated by the way any image being presented simply, activates a mysterious charge which is neither subjective nor objective, but both (Schjeldahl 7). Possessed of a fertile imagination, she continued to focus on self-transformation and experimented with a variety of modes using old-fashioned clothes to create a wide range of characters. "So it just grew and grew until I was buying and collecting more and more of these things, and suddenly the characters came together just because I had so much of the detritus from them" (Thames and Hudson 2). Sherman went even as far as wearing the costumes and dressing as different characters to gallery openings and events in Buffalo. She wore these costumes because she wanted to see how far a "transformed she could look” (Haller 225). Yet, Sherman never considered dressing up for performance purposes because she was "not maintaining a character," but simply "getting dressed up to go out" (Thames and Hudson 227). Cindy started her famous “Untitled Film Series” at the end of 1977 by impersonating female black and white photographs of herself by impersonating female characters from old B-grade movies,...
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