"Untitled Film Still # 48" by Cindy Sherman

Essay by Picasso74College, UndergraduateA-, July 2009

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Without ever having to suffer standing on the side of a long, lonely road hoping for a ride to come along, one can get a sense of the experience with just a look at Cindy Sherman's photograph, Untitled Film Still # 48. The photograph, taken in 1979, shows a female hitchhiker waiting for a ride alongside a two-lane highway in the dim light of dusk.

Sherman is an accomplished photographer. When she uses her camera to speak, people who follow photography as an art form listen. As a distinguished figure in her field, she makes a credible appeal to ethos simply by putting her name on her work. Any viewer aware of her expertise is compelled to ponder the photo and consider what Sherman meant the public to see.

Sherman used logic and surely chose the composition of the image carefully. She selected a certain level of darkness to help convey her message.

The clouds are indistinct and the shadows are beginning to blend with the objects around them; it is clearly evening. Typically, subjects face photographers to add emotion or to help interpret emotions that will show in the face of the subject. However, Sherman turned the subject around to show she is waiting patiently for a car but worry is beginning to overcome her patience in she darkness creeps across the landscape. Turning the subject away from the lens also took away her identity. She could be anyone, including the person viewing the photograph. She gave her a suitcase to show that she is waiting for a ride to go somewhere other than where she is. Sometimes, absence of information is as important as the information provided. Is she running away? Chasing her dreams? Has she had car trouble? Or has she been abandoned there? Leaving all...