Challenging identity isn’t a new internet trend – photographer Cindy Sherman was doing it before you were even born.

Androgynous fashion models, #nomakeup selfies and photoshoots challenging beauty standards. You may think these are a recent phenomenon, but veteran photographer Cindy Sherman was already pioneering these ideas decades before the internet existed – and still does now.

Sherman is a contemporary master of conceptual portrait photography. She’s her own model, constantly digging deeper to explore a range of female social roles and personas representing concepts from self-confidence to sexual adventure. The work ages with her; her early photography contains pseudo-voyeuristic images of young women, while more recent work captures American’s obsessive pursuit of female youth and beauty.

Cindy Sherman

Shooting independently in her studio, Sherman takes on the roles of author, director, make-up artist, costume designer, hairstylist and model. Saddling herself with numerous demanding roles, as an artist she is self-sufficient and powerful – themes which appear regularly in her Feminist-influenced work.

“The work is what it is and hopefully it’s seen as feminist work, or feminist-advised work” – Cindy Sherman.

Cindy Sherman

“A number of younger artists are very much indebted to Sherman in their exploration of not just identity but also the nature of representation. Now we all take it for granted that a photograph can be Photoshopped. We live in the era of YouTube fame and reality-TV shows and makeovers, where you can be anything you want to be any minute of the day, and artists are responding to that. Cindy was one of the first to explore the idea of the malleability or fluidity of identity.” – Eva Respini

Check out more of her work below:

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