Abe Frajndlich on Photographing Cindy Sherman

Cindy-ShermanCindy Sherman

I first photographed Cindy Sherman in Akron, Ohio, where she had a show, in 1984. Carolyn Carr was the assistant director and arranged for access to her. In studying her work, I realized that Cindy is very shy, so I brought a little mask with me that she could hide behind. I made a picture of her in front of a tall color photograph that showed only her eyes through a white wig. Through that gesture, we got on the same frequency—we connected.

About three years later when I was assigned to photograph her for Vanity Fair, she was very open. We had almost three days of shooting. The picture on the cover shows her with eyes closed and no make-up. She’s always putting on all these layers to hide behind. This is the tabula rasa image of Cindy. She has a bit of the quality of a Pierrot character.—Abe Frajndlich

Over the next few days, Feature Shoot will be running photographs and excerpts from Abe Frajndlich’s book, Penelope’s Hungry Eyes, published by Schirmer/Mosel. The book includes 102 portraits of photographers shot by Frajndlich, who is well-known as ‘the photographers’ photographer’.

Over a span of 30+ years, Frajndlich has been able to photograph many influential photographers such as Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Chuck Close, William Eggleston and Inge Morath. Portraits of these photographers and many more are included in this book along with lively commentary describing his experiences photographing these masters of the medium.

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