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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Cindy Sherman

Dates:  1954, 19 January -
Born:  US, NJ, Glen Ridge
Active:  US
 
  
American photographer who has made a career out of photographing herself in various roles out of popular culture.

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Cindy Sherman
Courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum (London, UK)

 
  
Cindy Sherman became one of the most successful artists in the world during the 1980's. Her series of Untitled Film Stills examines archetypal images of women, by casting herself in the central role of every picture. Sherman makes us aware of just how immediately recognisable these images are and by acting out a bewildering variety of roles, surrounded by props, and altering her make-up, hair and costume, she shows how identities are a form of social performance. Her more recent work has used everything from historical costumes to false body parts to explore historical and forbidden images. 
  
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Victoria & Albert Museum and is included here with permission. 
  
Date last updated: 11 Nov 2011. 
  
SHARED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION PROJECT 
  
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
 
If you find any errors please email us details so they can be corrected as soon as possible.
 
  

Biography provided by Focal Press 
  
Sherman emerged as a key figure in the art world in the 1980s with her series Untitled Film Stills — black and white images that explore gender, identity, mythmaking and the media. She combines performance, masquerade, and photography’s innate collusion with veracity to create film stills of herself as the solitary female heroine in an American drama; her fictional identities were inspired by movies of the 1950s and 1960s. Sherman’s chameleon-like capacity for self-transformation, her blurring of the real and unreal, and her use of saturated color materials and large scale audaciously explore her notion of human identity as a cultural construct. 
  
(Author: Garie Waltzer - Photographer and consultant) 
  
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409] 
(Used with permission) 
  

Further research

 
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Thumbnail
Cindy Sherman
Untitled (Film Still #22) 
1978
 
  
Family history 
  
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch. 
  
alan@luminous-lint.com
 
  
 
  

Visual indexes

 
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Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer.Show on this siteGo to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online (www.groveart.com) has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
Show on this siteGo to website
 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

 
• Evans, Martin Marix (Executive ed.) 1995 Contemporary Photographers [Third Edition] (St. James Press - An International Thomson Publishing Company) [Expensive reference work but highly informative.] 
  
• Hoy, Anne H. 1987 Fabrications: Staged, Altered and Appropriated Photographs (New York: Abbeville) p.196 
  
• International Center of Photography 1999 Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection (New York: A Bulfinch Press Book) p.228 [Includes a well written short biography on Cindy Sherman with example plate(s) earlier in book.] 
  
• Weaver, Mike (ed.) 1989 The Art of Photography 1839-1989 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press) p.466 [This exhibition catalogue is for the travelling exhibition that went to Houston, Canberra and London in 1989.] 
  
 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

 
• Lahs-Gonzales, Olivia & Lippard, Lucy 1997 Defining Eye: Women Photographers of the 20th Century. Selections from the Helen Kornblum Collection (Saint Louis Art Museum, D.A.P.) [Cindy Sherman is included in this overview of women photographers.] 
  
• Sobieszek, Robert A. and Deborah Irmas 1994 the camera i: Photographic Self-Portraits (Los Angeles: LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art) p.231, Plates 115, 116 [When the Audrey and Sydney Irmas collection was donated to LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1992 the museum gained a remarkable collection of self portraits of notable photographers. If you need a portrait of Cindy Sherman this is a useful starting point.] 
  
 

Quotations

The wit and wisdom.

 
"The still must tease with the promise of a story the viewer of it itches to be told."
 
  
 
  
 
  
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