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Friday, January 19, 2018

Presenting a face to the world

“We're all products of what we want to project to the world. Even people who don't spend any time, or think they don't, on preparing themselves for the world out there - I think that ultimately they have for their whole lives groomed themselves to be a certain way, to present a face to the world.” – Cindy Sherman

Born in New Jersey on this date in 1954, Cynthia Morris "Cindy" Sherman is a renowned photographer and film director and MacArthur (Genius Grant) Fellowship winner who built her reputation through her award-winning conceptual portraits.

She started her career while still a student at Buffalo State (NY) University where she actually failed a photography class as a first-year student before returning to the genre a couple of years later (she re-took and passed the earlier class).  Sherman is noted for creating “series,” typically photographing herself in a range of costumes. To create her photographs, she often shoots alone in her studio, assuming multiple roles as author, director, make-up artist, hairstylist, wardrobe mistress, and model.

Many of her photos have sold for millions of dollars, including a 2011 print “Untitled #96” – part of a 1981 series of 10 – that went for nearly $4 million, making it the most expensive photograph at the time.        Sherman has either published or been the subject of numerous books of her works and her work, which is credited with being the major influence on contemporary portrait photographers.   Lauded for creating works that challenge the viewer, she noted, “The still must tease with the promise of a story the viewer itches to be told.”

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