Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wiki & Abstracts (no. 36) - Cindy Sherman

Since watching the John Doe Liberty videos and discussing the importance and usefulness of having a persona to deliver a message I thought about an amazingly brilliant photographer named Cindy Sherman.

Sherman used the medium of photography and created persona's to raise challenging and controversial questions about the roles and representation of women in society. Her photographs were taken during the 70's, right around the time women in society were reevaluating their position in society and the media.

All of Sherman's photographs are self-portraits that she sets up herself. She always created a narrative that played on issues like the importance of beauty for women or the how women are expected to act.

Here Cindy plays on the stigma of how women are helpless.

Here Sherman plays on "small town girl in a big city".

Here Sherman play on women's roles in the home, mainly the kitchen. In this particular photograph she is turning away from her "job". You get then sense that she is trapped in the frame, and the pot handle is pointed directly at her heart, which could be considered a foreboding image. Sherman was a genius when setting up a frame, and because digital cameras were not invented yet, she often went threw rolls and rolls of film just to get one shot.

This photograph makes a statement about how women are expected to present their bodies as appealing in unnatural poses. Here Sherman poses in a contorted manner and keeps a doll-like lifeless look on her face. She questions why women are considered more desirable when we are more unnatural versus moving naturally.

***It's important to note that in fashion magazines and in the media we often see women in contortions and trained movements. We have in a way become desensitized to this.***

Sherman's most recent work has become more over-the-top with her persona's and focuses more on how women have become abstractions of themselves by using make-up and clothes to cover ourselves up and change our appearance. She creates a purposely unattractive and awkward looking to push her idea that masking ourselves is unnatural.

Surprisingly, her photography has recently been commissioned to take photographs for a M.A.C. cosmetics advertising's campaign. And she still is using her over-the-top persona's. Quite the paradox, huh?

For more information on Cindy Sherman's M.A.C. campaign click on the link.


  1. Wow either M.A.C is high uneducated and they don't realize what she is actually doing or they just like the fact that it is over the top because I would have to say that they are one of the most over the top, want girls to layer their face in make up companies. But she is awesome and I love these photos I love the messages in them