Created in 1975, A Play of Selves is a visual tale of a young woman overwhelmed by her various, conflicting alter-egos and her final triumph over self-doubt. Acted out with sixteen separate characters, the seventy-two photographic assemblages mark Sherman’s earliest explorations of her trademark use of herself as the subject in staged photographs.

Sherman originally shot hundreds of photographs of herself costumed as the various characters in dozens of poses. After cutting out the individual images from black-and-white prints, she used an elaborately formulated, handwritten script to organize the images into the five-act “play.” The piece was first shown in 1975, in Buffalo, New York, where Sherman was a student.