CINDY SHERMAN by Betsy Sussler

Nov 7, 2012 7:35PM

Betsy Sussler: When did you decide to be an actress in your photographs? Do you consider it acting?

Cindy Sherman: I never thought I was acting. When I became involved with close-ups I needed more information in the expression. I couldn’t depend on background or atmosphere. I wanted the story to come from the face. Somehow the acting just happened.

BS: It was the close-up that forced you into acting?

CS: Unconsciously…

BS: Now when you’re doing it, what are you thinking?

CS: I think of becoming a different person. I look into a mirror next to the camera…it’s trance-like. By staring into it I try to become that character through the lens. It seems to work out, it sounds like meditation. But something happens that makes it more fun for me because I have no control over it. Something else takes over.

BS: How do you decide on the character, or does it matter?

CS: Well, the characters sometimes appear while I set up the lighting. I may go through several different lighting situations until I feel some kind of mood or response to it.

BS: The mood of the light? 

CS: And sometimes it’s just experimental. I may look at what I’ve been doing and realize I haven’t used a harsh yellow light so I’ll try that. Then sometimes, arbitrarily pick out a wig I haven’t used in a while.