Cindy Sherman was born Cynthia Morris Sherman in January 1954, in Glen Ridge, New Jersey and grew up in Long Island, New York.
In 1972 she entered the State University of New York from which she then majored in painting before switching to photography. She graduated in 1976 and was first noticed in 1977 when she worked on “Untitled Film Stills (1977–80)”, a series of work consisting of 130 black-and-white self-portraits where she is seen depicting different female roles, many of which considered as clichés. The series is today considered as one of her best-known work.
When questioned about the series, she explained that it was “about the fakeness of role-playing as well as contempt for the domineering male audience who would mistakenly read the images as sexy.”
During the 1980s Sherman started using prosthetic parts and big amounts of make-up in her work. She developed a new genre that she expressed in colour films, shown on very large prints. Her style became darker; she began working on psychological disorders, insanity, and death, and sometimes featured mutilated bodies.
In 1986 she worked on a series of pictures called “History Portraits” inspired by the work of many great painters.
Her work mainly evolved around horror and grotesque, two themes very present in her 1985 series “Fairy Tales”, and then in her series called “Disasters” on which she worked from 1986 to 1989, and finally on her work in “Horrors and Surrealist Pictures” inspired from horror movies on which she worked for two years from 1994.
“I’m trying to make other people recognize something of them-selves rather than me.”
In the 1990s, she started introducing mannequins into some of her photographs, and in 1997 she directed the film “Office Killer”. Two years later she worked on allying violence and artificiality in an exhibition showing dark images of dolls and doll parts. She worked on that same theme again in 2000, posing this time as Hollywood women with disproportionate breast implants and great amounts of make-up.
That same year a retrospective of her work was exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
Sherman is today 58 years old, she lives and works in New York. Her work is recognized internationally and she is considered as a pioneer in the field of post-modern photography.