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Cindy Sherman is the American film director and photographer. She was born on January 19, 1954. She has played a crucial role in revealing the representation and role of women in society. She currently resides in New York where she goes on with her artwork. She is famous and popular for her idealistic and conceptual portraits. Her photographs include some of the few most expensive photographs to be ever sold. She received the Macarthur Fellowships Award in 1995. Recently, the artist had an exhibition at MOMA, New York. This event proves that she is an excellent professional who has considerable influence on the modern world of photography. Some of the aspects of her life and carrier have been extensively discussed in this essay.
How She Became a Popular Artist in History
Soon after her family had moved to Huntington, Cindy Sherman became interested in visual arts. Her passion for visual arts was so impressive that she started painting at Buffalo State College. She did this for some time until she thought it was not right. The girl realized that she was just copying others’ art in her paintings. The future artist felt that she needed to be original. That was why she abandoned painting and decided to take up photography. This step was caused by her firm belief that she could just take a direct photograph and then develop a concept out of it. Cindy Sherman thought this occupation would be a perfect substitute for painting. This decision was a significant turn in her life. The future artist did not know that she had just taken a step that would make her extremely successful in the art world.
Cindy Sherman spent the rest of her college life with photography. Even though she failed a required photography class when she was a freshman, she repeated the course with a person known as Barbara Jo Reveille in few years. This was the woman that introduced her into conceptual art, as well as some other contemporary forms. In Buffalo, Sherman was inspired by the works of some already well-known artists, like Hannah Wilkes and Adrian Piper. Some of these artists used conceptual art in their photographs. They created complicated images, which managed to provoke different ideas in the mind of the viewers. This unique ability created considerable interest in Cindy, and she knew that it was the field, in which she wanted to be. She thanks people like Robert Longo for encouraging her, as well as giving her valuable advice about her photography work. She stayed in Buffalo from 1972 to 1976; in 1974, together with Charles Clough and Robert Longom, Cindy Sherman founded Hall Walls Centre for contemporary art. Bus Riders was one of the series of photographs that Cindy shot in 1976. She also came up with another series called Murder Mystery People; they were printed in 2000. They have not been recognized by painters for an unusually long time despite their potential to be influential in the art world. Sherman’s photograph with a wooden chair in front of the bus was used as the background. She used different makeup, as well as a variety of elaborate costumes to show different forms of her portraits. In her 69 Photographs series, Complete Untitled Films Still, Cindy’s characters appeared as the film noir stylish actresses. The actress looked like they were involved in some kind of drama or crimes. This technique is used mainly in Hollywood movies.
Cindy Sherman is a creative artist who always knew the right thing to do and time in which to do it. Apart from coming up with portraits that developed various unique concepts, she also thought of pleasing the eye. She decided to deal with fashion using her creativeness and inborn gifts. Therefore, she was used to advertising by different designers who wanted their clothes being sold. This is how Cindy attracted the attention of the world. Fashion is a diverse factor; it is also universal, and it enjoys the attention of people from allover the world. Therefore, if an artist used his career to influence global fashion trends, this would be a significant turnaround for his or her career. In 1983, Dianne Benson made a point to commission Cindy to help in creating a series of advertisements for her store. The French fashion House, Dorothee Bis, also made use of Cindy the same year. The fashion House brought the clothes so that they could appear in the French Vogue. In both of these high fashion photographies, Cindy’s work was excellent. She not only pleased the designers of the clothes but also influenced the sales of these clothes using her photographs. She began to receive the recognition of many people from all over the world. Sherman also created photographs for an editorial, Harper Bazaar, in 1993. This work was also in the fashion industry and it played an enormous role in increasing her popularity; the experience of Cindy was increasing significantly, as well.
In the year that followed, she, in collaboration with Rei Kawakubo, managed to produce the Post Card Series for Comme des Garcons. This was for the Grand autumn/winter collections of 1994 – 1995. She created another series of fashion advertisements for Marc Jacob, a successful designer. In 1997, Madonna decided to sponsor the exhibition, ‘Cindy Sherman’. This extraordinarily sold Cindy’s name since Madonna was a renowned musician with fans in all corners of the globe. However, Cindy Sherman still was a talented artist even without any advertisement. In 2010, Cindy started designing jewelry. Cosmetic giant M. A. C. picked out Cindy Sherman for their fall line. They achieve success using the face of Cindy and her talent. In this campaign, which uses three images, Cindy utterly alters her look to seem like a full-on clown with garish hair and doll like ingénue. This step demonstrates that many designers and companies have trusted her artistic taste and creative work. Cindy has been able to make history in art due to her flexibility and universality. She has the ability to move with time because of her creativeness. The artist can incorporate modern styles and designs using self-portraits. These facts convince designers in her ability to transform any of their products to one that will be liked and admired by consumers. There are people who like portraits that reflect tradition. Cindy’s diversity enables her to satisfy the need to see modernity, as well as the traditional aspect.
Unlike some artists who only produce photographs for viewing, Cindy makes her portraits versatile and complete. She comes up with ways to incorporate her portraits, with rich historical background to the modern world. Therefore, as the years pass, her portraits do not become outdated. That is the reason why some of them are among the most expensive photographs to be ever sold in the current times. As a result of this recognition, she has been able to win awards in her life. In the 2012 Tribeca Film Festivals, Sherman was one of the artists whose works were rewarded with trophies. These achievements show that she remains relevant in the modern art world.
Signature Characteristic through Cindy Sherman’s Artwork
Cindy Sherman’s artwork is so distinct that anyone would recognize it without any tip or sign. There are some unique characteristics about her work. She creates her art differently from all other artists. It is this uniqueness that makes her work popular among the lovers of photography. People sit down and try to analyze her photographs due to this uniqueness. Sherman’s best photographs are those of women. Most of her critics claim that Sherman stereotypes women in her images, but she does not agree to the claims. In all her interviews, she denies engaging in this act. She uses her photos to show various roles of women in society. In her works, different features and postures of the female body are shown. She displays a variety of factors and sides about the women’s life. Some of them can just be seen from the facial expressions in the self-portraits. She has a distinctive way of developing ideas in photographs.
One of the unique characteristics of her photographs is the independence of the background. As mentioned earlier, Cindy’s artwork is conceptual. This is a characteristic that causes ambiguity as her critics try to analyze them. Cindy develops her concepts mainly based on the persona’s image. She usually uses the facial expressions of the image in the photograph to explain her ideas. In her self-portraits, quite a number of concepts can be seen and interpreted. In an interview, Cindy was asked whether she considers self-portraits as a way to bring her out in unrealistic lights. She claims that she does not see Cindy in any of those photos; once she has taken the photo, she develops and changes it to the extent that her real identity cannot be known. The artist likes her photographs being anonymous. She even develops images that she puts on photographs through ordinary and common means. For example, Cindy Sherman said that sometimes she looks at her image on the lens of her camera. When using this method, she comes up with the result that she would like to have in her photograph. Therefore, the creativeness shown in her photographs cannot be doubted. Cindy’s outstanding, outrageous, and daring approach make her photographs unique and popular. She has been asked continually how she acts in her photos. However, she says that she does not consider it as acting. She just stands in front of the camera and makes faces and postures, which bear the concept that she wants to communicate. That is why most people seem to think that Cindy Sherman is acting in her portraits, even though she is not. This is a creative way of developing photographs and it has earned her fame and popularity in the world of art.
Why She Took a Self-Portrait Historical Character on her Photo
The main intention of Cindy is not showing a variety of attractive and colorful images. If this were her aim, she would have just stuck to the painting that she had been involved in before. The main aim of her portraits is provoking some ideas in the minds of people. She aims at developing concepts from the images that she shows in her portraits. Initially, she invited common people and professional models for her photography; therefore, usually she failed to communicate something to her audience because of the people portrayed in the image. This disillusionment and incomprehension brought the need to use her own image in her photos. She is the one to know the best pose and make facial expressions that she intends to demonstrate her audience. Therefore, she has direct control over the characteristics of the persona on every image. All these factors have driven her at a decision to make use of her own images.
From an early age, Cindy wanted to be distinct and different from all other artists. She achieved this by using self-portraits in her artwork. She considered this unique technique the best way to come up with a style of her own. It was a style that could help identify her portraits; she saw it like magic. In an interview, she said that it was surprising to see how a photograph of her own changed to look like something that was extremely different. She saw it as something that made photography entertaining, as well as enjoyable. This is something that inspired her to use self-portraits, and that is what she did. Cindy Sherman cherished them, and they have proven to win her immense popularity.
It is clear from her portraits that her main interest is in women. Considering herself as an embodiment and representation of all other females, Cindy did not see the need to use the images of other women. Furthermore, when using different people, their natural characteristics would influence the photographs; this phenomenon would be ineffective in communicating ideas. The best way was to use the same person in different photographs. This conviction of her allowed Cindy Sherman to show different issues and aspects of life.
Characteristics of Personas in Her Self Portraits
As mentioned earlier, Cindy Sherman mainly uses women as her personas in the photographs. These women assume different postures, as well as forms. However, they have a general characteristic that can even be acknowledged by her critics. To begin with, Cindy is in full control of how the personas look like on her images. She can achieve this effect, as she goes into the studio alone and is able to concentrate and be absorbed in the art process. She plays the role of the editor, director, author, and the model, all in one. Therefore, she creates images that make and bring out the influence and pass the message that she desires. Cindy’s personas seem to bring out female vulnerability and tenderness. Over the years, male viewers have been interviewed on the photographs that Cindy creates; they claim that the photographs trigger masculine urges and desires. The artist obtains this effect because the personas pose in a manner, to suggest that they are defenseless. This makes the men feel a hero, the one who can and should protect. Most of her personas also seem to reflect the character of ambiguity. When people try to unlock the concept beyond any of her photographs, they arrive at multiple answers. This is because the personas exhibit sophistication and complexity that actually takes time to analyze. Sometimes they seem to be communicating a certain message, sometimes not. At another glance, one may see a lot of irony in the way the personas have been brought out.
All of the portraits that Cindy Sherman comes up with are grounded in the present. They bring out the features found in today’s world; however, they still conform to the traditions. They remind people of stereotypes that used to exist in the past. This is displayed by a number of factors in the portraits. For example, she extensively uses costumes in revealing and reflecting different issues and ideas in her portraits. She usually uses a modern background and make up on the image. On the other hand, sometimes she could use an extremely traditional costume to remind people of cultural values and traditions. Some of her portraits also have a comical nature. A number of the images that Cindy has used in her work are rather funny. They display the persona as a funny character, and this method amuses the viewers. Some of her characters could be the exact contrast of these funny images. Some of the personas may demonstrate a modern woman who is serious and determined. She uses all these techniques to bring out different messages about people, society, and the world surrounding her.
Cindy’s personas also show considerable diversity in them. They are given many different characteristics to represent many different factors and elements of life. A single image could have numerous concepts and reflect different ideas only to be exhausted by serious analysts. She achieves this influence by using the facial expressions of the personas, their costumes, their makeup, the background, and other appropriate factors and details.
Reasons for Showing Multiple Images
The most valuable thing to Cindy when creating these self-portraits is to communicate different messages to people. By use of the single images, this would be rendered impossible. That is why Cindy decided to go for multiple images in her artwork. This way, she was able to bring out numerous aspects of life. It also clarifies the issues that the critics have been commenting about all these years. They claim that Cindy only represents women, and hence stereotypes. According to what they say, Cindy represents females in a way that shows them to be vulnerable and sensitive to many factors of the modern world. Therefore, they claim that Cindy promotes male chauvinism and dominance. Nevertheless, in multiple photographs, she is able to come up with images that can nullify the thought in the minds of most of her critics.
Cindy also places a considerable role in promoting diversity and satisfying preferences and tastes of the viewers. She knows that a certain portrait will not manage to please every eye that it comes across. For this reason, Cindy resolves to release multiple images with the same message. In the multiple images, she demonstrates her characters from different perspectives and in different lights. She achieves this goal by the help of many images, in which the personas exhibit different characteristics. Therefore, everyone would wish to see the photographs produced by Cindy, as their expectations and taste would be satisfied.
From the above discussion, it can be seen that Cindy is an excellent professional in her field. Her artworks have dominated the world of art and attracted people from all over the world. She has caught the eyes of prolific designers and givers of awards. Her portraits have also communicated the message about the female gender in the modern world and history more than some books or plays. She plays a vital part in the history of art using her self-portraits. We can conclusively say that Cindy Sherman is a success in her field of art. She deserves to have the fame and recognition that she has because of her creativity and uniqueness.