The term cinematic relates to the cinema and is used to describe artworks which have qualities characteristic of film

Cindy Sherman, ‘Untitled Film Still #48’ 1979, reprinted 1998
Cindy Sherman
Untitled Film Still #48 1979, reprinted 1998
© Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman, ‘Untitled Film Still #17’ 1978, reprinted 1998
Cindy Sherman
Untitled Film Still #17 1978, reprinted 1998
© Cindy Sherman
Claude Cahun, ‘Untitled’ 1936
Claude Cahun
Untitled 1936
© The estate of Claude Cahun

The word cinematic is sometimes used to describe a form of tableau photography where the artist has used dramatic lighting and scene setting in an approach similar to that seen in a movie in order to heighten the tension and atmosphere. 

It is a technique used by artists to blur fact and fiction. For example Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills, a series of black and white photographs made between 1977 and 1980, depict the artist playing fictitious characters. Using vintage clothing, make-up and wigs, she created a range of female personae in scenarios that resembled moments in a film. 

Since the advent of digital film-making, and the decline of analogue film, the word ‘cinematic’ can also be used to describe a piece of digital film that has the stylistic look and ambition of analogue film. 

See also


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