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Though Sherman had failed a required photography class as a freshman, she repeated the course with Barbara Jo Revelle, whom she credited with introducing her to conceptual art and other contemporary forms.
In 1974, together with Longo, Charles Clough and Nancy Dwyer, she created Hallwalls, an arts center intended as a space that would accommodate artists from diverse backgrounds.
When I became involved with close-ups I needed more information in the expression. When talking about one of her centerfold pictures Sherman stated, "In content I wanted a man opening up the magazine suddenly look at it with an expectation of something lascivious and then feel like the violator that they would be looking at this woman who is perhaps a victim. Obviously I'm trying to make someone feel bad for having a certain expectation".
In 1972, Sherman enrolled in the visual arts department at Buffalo State College, where she began painting.Sherman was also exposed to the contemporary art exhibited at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the two Buffalo campuses of the SUNY school system, Media Studies Buffalo, and the Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Arts, and Artpark, in nearby Lewiston, N. Sherman works in series, typically photographing herself in a range of costumes.To create her photographs, Sherman shoots alone in her studio, assuming multiple roles as author, director, make-up artist, hairstylist, wardrobe mistress, and model.Sherman used costumes and make-up, including blackface, to transform her identity for each image, and the cutout characters were lined up along the bus's advertising strip.Margo Jefferson on the bus riders series: "a series of 15 black-and-white photographs from 1976 in which she impersonates black and white bus riders.