Why are we talking about this? : Cindy Sherman lets on how it started.

Posted: January 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Cindy Sherman Untitled (2010)

Sherman is interviewed in a rambling and overly personalized essay by Simon Hattenstone, titled Cindy Sherman: Me, myself and I (a title which sums up only a part of the work and forgoes the part which is about Us as Viewers and Icon Creators).  But we get this insight into how it all began in the midst of the discussion:

Still from an Untitled Film, 1978

We are looking through the earliest photographs – her series of movie stills – and she explains exactly how they came about. “I took one roll of film and maybe six shots, because I didn’t know they were going to continue, and they were all supposed to be the same actress but in different stages of her career, so in some of them I thought she’s an older ingénue, but she’s trying to be the ingénue again. Then I developed the film in chemicals that were too hot, which cracks the emulsion, so they are super grainy, because I wanted them to look like cheap prints, not art; something you could find in a thrift store for 50 cents.” The movie stills grew from there. More wigs, more outfits, more locations. “I was always shooting where I lived, then I was visiting a friend at the beach, so I did some pictures there, then I’d rearrange my apartment to make the bedroom look like a hotel room, and then I wanted to do something outdoors, so with my boyfriend I took some clothes in the suitcase and we drove around the city in his van and I’d say, ‘OK, stop over here – that looks like a good location’, and I’d get into character and he would take the pictures, and I’d say, ‘OK, do close up, or stand over there” Sometimes, she directs others to take photos of her, but by and large she takes them by herself with the help of mirrors. All the photos are untitled – another way of distancing herself from the images.”

Cindy Sherman Untitled (#224), 1990

(Take a look though a bit much about the “men in her life” and his surprise she thinks the millions paid for a “photo” is ok with her (don’t others make that kind of money? and I’m with her there, why only artists “shouldn’t make money?”.)  Just a warning.)


Cindy Sherman. Untitled #276

You can see new work of Cindy Sherman at Sprüth Magers London   january 12 – february 19 2011

Cindy Sherman, Untitled, 2010

  1. maaretta says:

    Thank you for this post. Interesting to her an artist talk about how her work got started.

    • hapstance says:

      Yes always interesting to “see how it started”. This information caught me by surprise, as well, as it was quite distant from what I had “expected” to be the beginnings of her artistic arc.
      Also quite interesting how it was an unexpected result which grabbed her interest, and which she then developed.
      (check out what the young artist Hannah Greely says about “chance” and Bridget Riley also. Interesting that they all seem to have this “idea” in mind.
      Thanks for the comment.

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