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Summary Article: Sherman, Cindy
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US photographer. A leading experimental photographer and pioneer in staged photography, Sherman specializes in taking pictures, using herself as the model, in various staged roles suggested by cinema, advertising, and art. Starting in the 1970s her first show featured the black-and-white Untitled Film Series (over 70 pictures), which were largely based on the characters in B-movies of the 1940s and 1950s.

In the 1980s she began using colour, but continued to depict 1950s female stereotypes such as the young housewife, the troubled adolescent, and the film star. Her images explore the role of women, the depiction of women in the media, and the physical and mental identity women possess as a result of their place in modern culture. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, Sherman broadened her range of images and composition to recreate, again using herself as the model, both male and female figures in paintings by famous masters such as Raphael and Caravaggio. The tension and disquiet in her early works often gave way to a more playful and extravagant sense of parody. Generally classified as postmodernist, her works question common assumptions about photography as an art form, the relationship between images and the world, and the nature of personal identity.

Sherman was born on Long Island, New York, and studied art at State University of New York, Buffalo, 1972–76, when she had her first show at the Albright-Knox Gallery. In 1986 Sherman had a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. It was here that she exhibited a notorious series of disturbing photographs, in which she used her own body to illustrate the disintegration of human life.

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