29 July 2009

Portrait of the Artist as a Film Still | Cindy Sherman

Untitled Film Still #7, Cindy Sherman, 1978.

By turning the camera on herself, Cindy Sherman has built a name as one of the most respected photographers of the late twentieth century. The majority of her photographs are pictures of her, yet these photographs are most definitely not self-portraits. Rather, Sherman uses herself as a vehicle for commentary on a variety of issues of the modern world: the role of the woman, the role of the artist and many more.

The Untitled Film Stills are all black and white photos in which Sherman places herself as an unnamed actress in shots reminiscent of foreign films, Hollywood pictures, B-movies, and film noir. In each of these photographs, Sherman plays a type -- not an actual person, but a self-fabricated fictional one: the archetypal housewife, the prostitute, the woman in distress, or the woman in tears.

In her work, Sherman is both revealed and hidden, named and nameless. She explained to the New York Times in 1990, "I feel I'm anonymous in my work. When I look at the pictures, I never see myself; they aren't self-portraits. Sometimes I disappear."