Who among us – not just fashion bloggers – can be a photographer, model, make-up artist, stylist, and art director? This is the first thing that impressed me about Cindy Sherman. She creates deeply intriguing shoots that could stand on their own as the work of a photographer, make-up artist, or any of the above roles. But to know that it’s all a one-woman show makes it even more impressive.
What’s more important, however, is that with such a diverse range of subjects portrayed through her work, Cindy Sherman is relevant. Incredibly relevant. I encourage you to read more about her, but here’s where she struck a chord with me.
As someone who strives to – and usually falls short of – connecting with a self-timed camera, I’m so impressed at Cindy Sherman’s ability to act in a vacuum. There’s no photographer to connect with, or give direction. When you’re shooting yourself, by yourself, there’s nothing to evoke emotion. Modeling is already a form of acting (conveying emotion to tell a story), but to have such a strong presence with no apparent catalyst really amazes me.
She is also so in tune with pop culture, especially the social climbing and obsession with youth that is portrayed on television. The woman who is trying to look younger will in fact, never get old. She will certainly age and lose her youth, but that there are women who strive to look younger, wealthier, etc, will never get old. Is that what makes the Real Housewives (and Basketball Wives, and Mob Wives, etc) so salient? That although highlighting these women and their social striving on television is a relatively new thing, the existence if these women and their social striving isn’t new. Certainly it existed eons before Cindy Sherman took it on in her work, but I swear I see the faces of the women on TV in her art. What’s also funny is that she recreates it so well, showing how constructed it all really is. Whether on TV or in her portraits, you know the appearance of perfection is just a façade.