Why The Fashion Set Are Talking About Cindy Sherman

The AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHER is famous for her use of make-up, costumes, props and prosthetics in her creation of complex, provocative photographic images …

In an era of social media and selfies, Cindy Sherman’s photographs appear more relevant and prescient than ever, even though her groundbreaking series “Untitled Film Stills”, (part of an exhibition which opens at National Portrait Gallery London today), began shortly after Sherman moved to New York in 1977.


Comprising 70 images, “Untitled Film Stills” was her first major artistic statement and defined her approach. With Sherman herself as model, wearing a range of costumes and hairstyles, her black and white images captured the look of 1950s and 1960s Hollywood, film noir, B movies and European art-house films.


Sherman cites Alfred Hitchcock as an important influence and a quote from Hitchcock’s 1954 film, Rear Window, “Tell me everything you saw and what you think it means,” is the unifying theme of the exhibition, which draws on cinema, television, advertising and fashion.


The retrospective features around 180 of her works including all five of Sherman’s “Cover Girl” series, completed when she was a student in 1976.


“Cindy Sherman’s art is completely distinctive. By inventing fictitious characters and photographing herself in imaginary situations, she inhabits a world of pure appearance,” says Paul Moorhourse, curator of the exhibition.

Need to Know: Cindy Sherman, National Portrait Gallery, London opens today June 27 – September 15, 2019; www.npg.org.uk.

Penny McCormick

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