Cindy Sherman Research

Cindy Sherman Research (Grp 6 – Jeremy, Cher See, Evangeline)

Cindy Sherman Background

  • Born January 19, 1954, in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, a suburb of New York City.
  • She sees camera as a tool and does not regard herself as a photographer , but a means to an end
  • Artist intention – Postmodernism (Skeptical interpretations on culture)
  • In the 1970s/1980s, it was the ‘me-generation’, society faced with issues of narcissism evoke the atmosphere of self-involvement and self-fulfillment.
  • Tension between Facade and Identity
  • Sherman comments on her ‘Untitled Film Stills’, “The style of Black & White grade-Emotion pictures produced the self-consciousness of these characters, not my knowledge of feminist theory.”
  • Sherman also said, “I wanted to create something out of the culture.”

All Untitled still

  • Photo was part of the series in which Sherman was producing photographs reminiscent of Old black & white films, B-movies, American Film Noir as there is a cinematic quality to the shots.
  • Sherman was a feminist artist who took on the role of various female characters in this series, highlighting various female stereotypes.
  • She is like an actor, who appears not in the movies but in her own series of carefully crafted still shots taking on those various roles.
  • Her self-portraiture is not a portrait of herself but of the characters she plays.
  • Every untitled film stills is Cindy Sherman herself reacting to something, giving off an illusion that there is a narrative.
  • She left them untitled to create a sense of ambiguity and opened each photo to the viewer’s individual interpretation.

untitled film still 3

Untitled still #3

  • The young female intellectual on the verge of discovering her “true womanhood”.
  • Has a domestic setting and Sherman herself dresses as a housewife in a kitchen set most likely in a suburban residential area.
  • Influences by the rise of feminism
  • Represents a certain stereotype of females at that time. (50’s, 60’s)
  • Indicating that Sherman and her generation have seen through the mass media cliches
  • Props give us the clues of her setting and her attire suggests she might be in the middle of doing the dishes or housework. (roles of women)
  • Her gaze is focused on something or someone out of the photo’s frame of view
  • Expression can range from being surprised to reacting to her name being called or her peeking over her shoulder out of curiosity to find out what is happening behind her.
  • Sense of voyeurism as she does not acknowledge the presence of the viewer watching her.
  • Rule of thirds. Uses props and body to frame the scene in an interesting way. Sort of tension.
  • Frame such in a way that I leads viewer’s eyes to her face and expression.


untitled film still 21

Untitled still #21

  • Cindy Sherman began taking shots in outdoor locations around the city
  • The role of the small-town girl just happening upon the big city
  • She is suspicious of the metropolitan lights and shadows, but eventually seduced by its undeniable attractions.
  • Again her focus is directed towards something out of the photograph’s frame of view.
  • She is in focus while the backdrop of buildings is blurred. It keeps the attention of the viewer on her expression. (looks anxious, raises questions)
  • Portrays another female character, possibly another stereotype (working woman, out and about in the city socialite, a woman of possibly higher societal status but still confined/conforming to the gender norms and expectations in that era)
  • Viewer feel uneasy, suggesting that mass media effect on developing our identities.
  • Suggesting that our society becoming artificial and selfish.
  • Shot appears cinematic as well as it seems to be a scene in-between action scenes within a narrative. (

Author: Goh Cher See

I was Cher See

Leave a Reply