Cindy Sherman is an incredibly unique photographer. She earned her reputation by mainly taking very out-of-the-norm self-portraits. I really enjoy her unique style and I wish unique self-portraits became the new “selfies.” When I see her photos, it is almost as if each one is telling a story. However, that is the funny part – she completely denies that any stories are attached to her photos. She actually leaves them untitled and open to interpretation and that makes them all the more interesting.
Sherman was born in New Jersey and her family moved soon after she was born to Long Island. Her first interest in the arts started when she attended Buffalo State College. She picked up painting, however, she felt there were too many limitations so she picked up photography instead. “There was nothing more to say [through painting]”, she later said. “I was meticulously copying other art and then I realized I could just use a camera and put my time into an idea instead.”
And what ideas she has. One of her earliest works, Bus Riders, was a series of self-portraits inspired by people she saw on the bus. Using various props and costumes, she emulated the look of these people.
Another series where Sherman turned the camera on herself, Untitled Film Stills, features Sherman portraying an imaginary actress being caught in photographs unexpectedly. Other photos in the series are inspired by the look of older American noir films and European films.
In the 1990s, Sherman had a drastic change in her style for the Sex Pictures series. Instead of self-portraits, she took photos of mannequins and prosthetic body parts in surreal sexual positons. Sometimes the subjects were dismantled and reassembled in bizarre erotic ways. This was a very controversial series and Sherman received a lot of criticism for it.
I think Cindy Sherman is an important person to discuss, because she had a very unique style. Her self-portraits were all so different and interesting. She even shifted her style drastically later on, however, she even made that her own. That is what is important – finding your personal style, developing it and owning it. This is something that all artists would greatly benefit from in their career.
1.) Bus Riders
6.) Sex Pictures