Cindy Sherman.

It struck me that while I have referred to Cindy Sherman in assignment 4, real or fake that I should devote a separate blog post to her work here.  When I first came across her work on the Flickr forum a long, long time ago I didn’t like it and I didn’t understand it.  It is a mark of how much this course, the various forums and also people and place have had an effect on me that now I consider her book untitled film stills, one of the best buys of the last 12 months.  Her work had a profound effect on me when I was working on the final 2 assignments of DPP and on my people and place course too.

One of the reasons is that, it seems to me, to have created a new space, a new genre in photography.  How do you explain it to someone who is not familiar with it? (Ive tried!)  Its not portraiture, its not social or any other type of documentary photography and its not landscape.  So what is it?  Cindy Sherman was first and for most a performance artist.  She says in the introduction ” I was into conceptual, Minimal, performance, body art, film-alternatives”.  In college she studied and experimented with film and made a 3 minute animation as a paper doll that comes to life.  So the basic elements are there, the tools to make art, the skills and using herself as the subject.

Its easy to see how her work influenced me to make assignment 5 where I am the subject of the work, its a piece that has identity as a central theme in it as does her work.  Even the fact that while I was making it I was collecting and gathering  props and disguises just as she used to do.  The settings for most of her images are normal everyday situations, domestic scenes, again this is something I found enlightening and liberating.  Another thing I noticed was that she uses doors, doorways and windows a lot.  I remember being particularly struck by #82 and the way the doorways act like a frame within a frame and also the way, as the viewer I almost feel like we are voyeuristic.

Another comment I noted was “Some of the photographs are meant to be solitary and are meant to allude to another person outside the frame” and I remember being struck by this, this idea of what is implied outside the frame and either consciously or unconsciously it has always been in my mind since.  She mentions #14 as a good example of this.

Her website is here

There is a an article in the Guardian here


About briancooney123

HOW I GOT HERE Of course, I wasn’t always a full time photographer. I spent a lot of time in the corporate world. I had a job which paid well, but just didn’t excite me. I remember the day when I had had enough. Enough of selling myself short, enough of dreaming too small, enough of doing what others expected of me. I had put away my dreams and told myself I would get back to them later, but somehow there always seemed to be something else that had to get done first. A friend of mine had recommended I take the NLP Business Practitioners course, and although I was really busy, I decided to do it. During that time, I began to imagine the different paths my life could take from here. While I had a hazy picture of what this other life might look like, I had a clear picture of where my current life was going if I didn’t change. It was a scary moment, a bit like standing on the edge of a cliff deciding whether to jump into the great unknown or stay on the cliff, safe but trapped. I jumped. The transition to the life I wanted was challenging The transition to the life I wanted was challenging but I would never go back. After that day I resolved to do what I love, to follow my bliss.  Picking up a camera after several years away, I found that many things had changed, the digital age had arrived. In the intervening years, I was too busy to pay any attention to my photography, and occasionally when I took something I really liked, I would think “how do some photographs seem so captivating and others leave me completely cold?” I knew this is what I was meant to do Somehow though, I knew this is what I was meant to do. I dedicated myself to learning everything I could about being a photographer. I took many, many courses and I read every book I could get my hands on, I still do. Since then, I have dedicated myself to helping other creative photographers achieve the results they want. And what a journey it has been. Last year I qualified as a coach. My main area of interest is creativity and helping others to express their vision. WHAT I BELIEVE Along the way, I’ve learnt that there are no rules. Experiment, explore, play. My advice is to make your art from your heart, not for the praise or the money.  Lighten up. It’s important to take your photography seriously, but it's a mistake to take yourself too seriously. Finally, you get what you want when you never, ever give up so enjoy every minute of it and just do it!
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