CMA Stories

Upcycled Viewfinders Inspired by Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman is an American photographer and filmmaker whose self-portraits offer critiques of gender and identity. Her photograph Untitled (Male/Female Artist) is included in CMA’s 2021 Art Auction and Fundraiser Exhibition, Now is Not the Time, which brings together over 40 world-class contemporary artists responding in ways both subtle and profound to issues of social justice.

Like the person on the right in Sherman’s photograph, use everyday objects to create a unique tool for observation. When your Upcycled Viewfinder is complete, create your own compositions at the park, in the kitchen, or wherever curiosity strikes! Once your creative juices are flowing, check out other How-To projects that incorporate photography skills, such as Portrait in LayersFractured Imagesand Strike a Pose.

Untitled (Male/Female Artist), 1980 / 2012


  • Cardboard, cut into four 2” x 6” rectangles
  • Popsicle sticks, or anything else that holds shape
  • Tape
  • String
  • Items to decorate your viewfinder, such as shells, gems, or collage material
  • Glue

Step 1

Gather your cardboard or popsicle sticks, arranging them into a square. Make sure the edges overlap.

Step 2

Glue the overlapped pieces of cardboard to form your square frame.

Step 3

Once the glue dries, flip the square frame over. Tape a piece of string from the center top of your square to the center bottom.

Step 4

Turn the square and do the same thing on the other sides. You should see that the strings will cross in the center of your square.

Step 5

Turn your new viewfinder back over. Add some designs or personalized details to the outer frame!

Step 6

Look closely at the world around you. What do you see?

CMA’s 2021 Art Auction and Fundraiser Exhibition, Now is Not the Time, takes place virtually from February 25 to March 11 in partnership with Artsy. Proceeds from the fundraiser exhibition ensure the continuation of CMA’s mission to provide vital access to the arts for children of all backgrounds and abilities from around the globe.

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