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