Conceptual self-portraiture never looked so good. Sherman has been working for over forty years capturing herself as different characters. Her “Untitled Film Series” was a landmark collection of 69 black and white photographs with her assuming different roles and playing up Hollywood stereotypes, leaving the viewer to make up their own story about the images presented. Sherman is truly a photographer for the ages.
Unlike most portraiture shooters or painters, Sherman isn’t afraid to look ugly or ridiculous for her art. The ambiguity of it all lies in the fact that she typically doesn’t title her images, leaving the onlooker as the narrator. As the director, photographer, stylist and actress, she controls the entire production herself.
Sherman originally went to school for painting but became disillusioned by the practice, saying, “There was nothing more to say through painting. I was meticulously copying other art and then I realized I could use a camera and put my time into an idea instead.” Ironically, Sherman failed her first photography class due to the technicalities that came with this new medium. Her real passion was realized when she retook the class and realized the power of portraiture.
Two of Sherman’s photographs have gone on to be among the most expensive ever, one being sold for $3 million and the other for almost $4 million respectively, both from her “Untitled Film Stills” series (shown above).
The reason behind Sherman’s success is her undeniable, immense dedication to her craft. She demonstrates that a woman could do it all without assistance from anyone, let alone a man. Sherman’s work is a huge inspiration to me because she is so genuine in all of her acting and dress up games; she is exploring her identity through other lives and I mimic the same tactics in my art. All photographers should long to have a Sherman attitude because the sheer body of work she has presented the world is remarkable.
– Logan Benedict, your favorite gender questioning photographer