Cindy Sherman is an American photographer known for her staged and often grotesque self-portraits that explore the construction of identity and the representation of women in media and art. Born in 1954 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, Sherman grew up in a middle-class family and attended the State University of New York at Buffalo, where she studied art.
Sherman began her career as an artist in the late 1970s, experimenting with conceptual and performance art before turning to photography. Her first series of photographs, Untitled Film Stills (1977-1980), consisted of 69 black-and-white images of Sherman posing as various archetypal female characters from Hollywood films of the 1950s and 60s. The series marked a turning point in photography, challenging the notion of photography as a reflection of reality and instead presenting it as a medium for constructing narratives.
Throughout her career, Sherman has continued to explore issues of identity and representation, often by taking on various personas and disguises in her photographs. In the 1980s, she produced a series of works that featured herself as a clown, a centerfold model, and a historical figure, among other roles. The works were often disturbing and subversive, challenging the viewer's expectations and highlighting the artificiality of media images.
In the 1990s, Sherman began using prosthetics and other special effects to transform her appearance even more radically. Her series of photographs known as Sex Pictures (1992) featured grotesque images of dismembered and mutilated bodies, while her Headshots (2000-2002) series depicted the artist as aging actresses, casting directors, and other Hollywood insiders. In recent years, Sherman has continued to explore themes of identity and representation, but has also incorporated more political and social commentary into her work.
Sherman has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Europe, and her work is included in many major collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Modern in London. In 2012, she was awarded the Infinity Award for Art by the International Center of Photography in New York.
Despite her success, Sherman is known for her reclusive nature and reluctance to give interviews or discuss her work in detail. She has said that her photographs are not intended to convey any specific message, but rather to provoke a reaction from the viewer and to explore the ways in which images construct our sense of self and society.
Cindy Sherman's influence on contemporary photography and art cannot be overstated. Her pioneering work in challenging traditional notions of photographic truth and representation has paved the way for a new generation of artists to explore the medium as a means of constructing and deconstructing identity.