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My Favorite Cindy

Catherine Wagner
[Untitled Film Still #21, 1978]

“In this series, Sherman started using the camera as writer, director, and performer—a major shift in photography. She challenged the notion that the camera doesn’t lie [by] constructing these narratives that didn’t exist. The work isn’t meant to fool you; it includes you in that act of observation.”

Todd Hido
[UNTITLED A–E, 1975]

“In these very early images, Sherman would create superbasic characters out of things she would borrow or find. I especially like this work because it’s really raw and gritty, almost amateurish. It’s the essence of what [she’s gone on to do] throughout her entire career.”

Elena Dorfman
[UNTITLED #155, 1985]

“In the ’80s, she created imagery with vaginas and dolls. I found them grotesque, and that was refreshing. She made herself look ugly to get across certain rituals and ideas. They’re beautifully composed, the colors are very poppy and catchy—you can’t help but want to keep looking.”

Tabitha Soren
[UNTITLED #466, 2008] 


“What I call ‘the women of a certain age series’ references everything from Renaissance portraiture to mainstream photography, which is complicit in creating the pressure women feel to look perfect. In this image, the grand scale, the silk caftan point to a superficial glamour. Then you see the thick support hose and pink plastic shoes. Sherman is trying to make you think about these people more deeply. They have secrets.”

Four photographer-fans discuss the thought-provoking, squirm-inducing, paradigm-shifting highlights of SFMOMA's can't-miss Cindy Sherman retrospective, opening this month.


July 14-Oct. 8, SFMOMA, 151 3rd St., 415-357-4000,