Untitled, from the Untitled Film Stills series
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Cindy Sherman has used self-portraiture as a strategy to interrogate representations of identity, gender, and mass culture. In her breakout series Untitled Film Stills, she photographed herself in varied guises inspired by generic Hollywood depictions of female characters: the bereft housewife, the sultry vamp, the wide-eyed ingénue. She challenges traditional understandings of photography and self-portraiture and exposes mass media’s constructed norms and ideas about femininity. Although she shot the original series in black and white as a nod to mid-twentieth-century B-grade black-and-white films, she also reprised the themes in color works like this one.