Cindy Sherman

“I didn’t have any interest in traditional art.” – Cindy Sherman


Cindy Sherman?

An american photographer who is known for her ‘Film stills’, that rapidly rose to celebrity status in the international art world during 1980. Throughout her work she maintained a sense of expression in the media-dominated civilisation.  Her photography is based on portraits of herself staged in various scenarios showing the different stereotypes of women, in some photographs she poses as screen idols like Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren.

Film Stills 1978-1980

Individual characters resembling moments in a film, shown through a series of black and white photographs. The women are dressed in vintage clothing, some wearing wigs and wearing subtle make up. These photographs are presented on gelatine silver print on paper.

Untitled Film Still #17 1978, reprinted 1998 by Cindy Sherman born 1954
Film Still 17, 1978
Untitled Film Still #53 1980, reprinted 1998 by Cindy Sherman born 1954
Film Still 53, 1980
Untitled Film Still #48 1979, reprinted 1998 by Cindy Sherman born 1954
Film still 48, 1979


  • Making the person her main focal point in a very subtle way.
  • using dark tones possibly to convey that the characters aren’t happy?
  • The backgrounds all give a sense of location, which helps to give the person who’s looking at it an idea of where the character is based, why she is there and possibly the meaning of the photo.
  • The dark shadows give the photographs depth, whilst also making them look rather mysterious and gloomy.
  • Using light in the right way, for example in the first and second image the light shines to the back of the women, therefore left to look rather depressed, lonely or mysterious?  In the last picture the light shine directly on the woman, whilst the background is dark and grey.

Pink Robes series

These are some of my favourite images from the photographer. I think the use of lighting is very effective how the dark shadows progress and become darker by the end of the series. Sherman succeeds to show the different emotions through using different lighting and that this is really important when creating portrait images, for example if there was loads of light the same emotions as when its darker wouldn’t be shown.


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