American visual artist Cindy Sherman is best known for her black and white photographs, Untitled Film Stills, which were primarily made between 1977 and 1980, an era during which she achieved international recognition.
Through the series, Sherman posed in a variety of stereotypical female roles, influenced by Hollywood films of the 1950s and 1960s, Film noir, B movies, and European art houses films. The subjects of all these photos are always looking away from the camera and outside of the frame, a representation of tropes or femininized types (the office girl, bombshell, girl on the run, housewife, etc.). Sherman played both the role of artist and subject in the piece.
In order to preserve their ambiguity, Sherman left all the images untitled. The numbers assigned to her artworks are assigned by her gallery as a method of cataloguing. The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) acquired all black-and-white photographs in the series in December 1995.
I suppose unconsciously, or semiconsciously at best, I was wrestling with some sort of turmoil of my own about understanding women. The characters weren’t dummies; they weren’t just airhead actresses. They were women struggling with something but I didn’t know what.