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Cindy Sherman and Femininity, Identity, and Female Representation

Cindy Sherman by Samantha Hahn
Illustration of Cindy Sherman by Samantha Hahn

Cindy Sherman (1954–)

American photographer and artist Cindy Sherman established her decades-long career by focusing her work on a very specific person—herself. In her self-portraits, Sherman makes statements about popular constructs of female identity. Her landmark exhibit, “Untitled Film Stills,” 1977–1980, features 69 black-and-white self-portraits of her dressed as B-list movie actresses. Whether dressing as a classic movie star or a housewife, the images prompt questions about femininity, identity, and female representation. Her most recent and first major exhibit in 20 years, “Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life,” was displayed at The Broad art museum in Los Angeles and included 120 images spanning her career.


Samantha Hahn is a New York-based illustrator and author. With a focus on exploring the female experience, her ethereal watercolor paintings have been exhibited around the world and featured in publications from The Paris Review to Vogue Japan. She has published two books, “Well-Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heroines” and “A Mother is a Story: A Celebration of Motherhood.”

This feature originally appeared in the Body issue. Find more inspiring stories from the Body issue here or check out our Women in History section.