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These are pictures from the Untitled Film Stills series (1977-80), by the well-known American artist Cindy Sherman. In this series of over 60 black-and-white photographs, the artist poses in different roles and settings, affecting the role of a film star surprised as if by paparazzi, a character in a tense scene of suspense, looking at turns regal, embattled, bewildered, etc. The style of the photos is strongly reminiscent of American film noir of the 40s or 50s.

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Sherman has created pictures pregnant with narrative, ‘film stills’ for a film they help you imagine, but that doesn’t exist! In a magazine interview, she claimed “I think people are more apt to believe photographs, especially if it’s something fantastic. They’re willing to be more gullible. Sometimes they want fantasy. Even if they know it’s fake they can believe anything. People are accustomed to being told what to believe in.”

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Sherman is a photographer born in 1954, who currently lives in New York. She’s best known for conceptual portraits where she assumes the multiple roles of photographer, model, makeup artist, hairdresser, and stylist. For at least four decades, Sherman has used herself in photos where she masquerades as a variety of different characters. Through the personas and tableaus that she invents, the artist examines the construction of identity, the nature of representation through photography, and the representation of women in popular culture.

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