Photographer Cindy Sherman (born 1954) initially used herself as model in many of her works.
She has taken a stance against sexism and stereotyping since her early photo-series Centerfolds or Horizontals (1981). This examined the poses in men’s or pornographic magazines of the time.
The images were rejected by the commissioning publication ArtForum as reinforcing stereotypes.
Sherman continued to challenge the ways in which women are seen and valued. In the 1992 Sex Pictures she used latex medical body parts to re-create poses seen in pornography. These images mimicked pornography whilst at the same time de-eroticising it, forcing the viewer to confront their attitudes to the female body and pornography and raising issues of voyeurism.
interview on Sex Pictures with Cindy Sherman
Sherman discusses the characters she has assumed in her work:
Sherman’s History Portraits (1989–90) parodied some of the portraits of women made by the Old Masters and others,
highlighting the ways in which women have been objectified.
Untitled (Balenciaga) (2008) explores the world of fashion and its victims. See:
Clowns (2003-04) was Sherman’s first major piece to
be created digitally, hence the garish colour palette.
The imagery examines how make-up transforms the
individual and questions the complex emotional
state that lies beneath the painted smile. It is also an
investigation into what a clown is, why people choose
to do it.
For Sherman talking about Clowns and her work, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCkSQOaCf7s&feature=BFa&list=PL2DBA1E2449F0FDF2&lf=results_video