From time to time we all want to distance ourselves from our daily routine and to just simply be in someone’s shoes for a while. What if there is one person, who dedicated the whole life transforming into other characters? We are talking about Cindy Sherman, legendary American photographer, who is most famous for her self-portraying series. In this article we will get to know her better and find out why the iconic Untitled series has indeed became an icon.
The Untitled Film Stills is a series of pictures which Sherman had been taking from 1977 till 1980. She styled, directed, did all make up and decoration by herself and also was posing for the photos. Surroundings were usually staged in the studio, but sometimes in Sherman’s apartment or outdoors. Let’s take a look at the pictures, and then figure out what’s standing behind them.
“I think of becoming a different person. I look into a mirror next to the camera…it’s trance-like. By staring into it I try to become that character through the lens … When I see what I want, my intuition takes over—both in the ‘acting’ and in the editing. Seeing that other person that’s up there, that’s what I want. It’s like magic.” said the artist. And this magic raised tonnes of questions ans social issues.
First, of course, the issue of the perception of women. All characters stands for some kind of a stereotypical vision of a woman, stylized into a noir movie still, commercial, or fashion shots.The beginning of a mass exploiting of feminine images in various industries gave Sherman an idea for this series.
All characters in the Untitled Film Stills seems awfully familiar, but they do not copy any particular person. Cindy Sherman managed to put this very important feature in her works. We see a person, we see an entourage, recognize the complete image of a woman’s character; but we also know that there is nothing real behind the photo. We see a mystic reality that is existing only before our eyes, but we still believe in it. This is a feature of our world today, the internet and various medias have created numerous of realities and images which we observe everyday. For instance, commercials and advertising.
The investigation of the reality behind the media images was very prescient for that time. Sherman continued the pursuits in studying cliches and perceptions in her further works, but Untitled series remains the fundamental one. It was first of a kind, and stays relevant till today.