Cindy Sherman’s major show at the National Portrait Gallery looks back at her long career at the peak of world photography . She is most well known for taking pictures of herself but this is not a world of selfies as she creates a wide range of personas using herself as the model, many of which are unrecognisable as the same person. This show covers her 40 year career with examples from each of her major series of work.
The exhibition takes us from her earliest work, featuring her degree show pictures through each stage of her developing different personas. We go through film sets, history portraits, magazine covers, pornography, fashion to society women. The range is staggering and often it’s a challenge to see Cindy in them, so brilliantly has she taken on the persona she is seeking, creating the illusion of a changed identity.
I was lucky enough to have a tour of the exhibition by the curator, Paul Moorhouse, and this gave me a deeper insight to Cindy and her work. One thing Paul told us that really stayed with me was that Cindy does not let anyone in on her creative process. She works entirely alone in her study as she creates these characters, not even letting an assistant into the study. Back in her early days she had done some work on location but this had proved difficult as it required help from others and getting dressed and ready in public so from then on all her work was made in the studio.