Cindy Sherman is a famous photographer, therefore all of her work relates to my discipline – photography. The fact that Cindy created all of her work by herself such as the make up, costume, lighting, modelling etc really impresses me. Her exploration of characters is truely amazing and the series that I feel shows this is ‘Clowns 2003-4’ Maybe it’s the colour that she uses or the fact that the clowns look so creepy, but I’m completely drawn in.

When I first saw the clown pieces it just looked like different characters with full faced clown make up, standing in front of colourful backgrounds. It wasn’t until I read the synopsis of her work where I realised there was a deeper meaning. ‘Clowns’ was Cindy Sherman’s first series after the 2001 attack on the world trade centre. Cindy is from New York, therefore the tragic event would have effected her both personally and creatively.

When looking at these two images the first things I notice are the clown’s facial expressions. The excessive make up acts as a mask that is hiding their identity and emotion, you can also see Cindy morphing into a completely different character. This may relate to the different emotions that were felt during and after the attack. These clowns also look more terrifying than happy, which makes me think of the amount of terror the 2001 terrorists placed on the people of New York. I feel as though this series has more of a psychological effect on the viewer. Instead of focussing on things like the lighting or shadows created, it effects your mind and mental state. The colours used also relate to this idea, the swirls of blue, red, yellow and green give a psychedelic feel to the image. Psychedelic means ‘mind manifesting’ and relates to a persons experiences or hallucinations. Whenever I see bright colours in an image I often relate them to the feelings they supposedly represent.

  • Red – Rage, anger, leadership
  • Pink – Love, romance
  • Orange – Agression
  • Green – Jealousy
  • Blue – Healing, tranquility
  • Purple – Nostalgic, sad

The swirl of colour could be a visual of peoples reactions and the emotion that is hidden behind the clown facade.



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