Behind the Scenes: People Making Shadow Monsters

photo of silhouette in museum

This series of silhouettes is already interesting on its own, but if you knew how and why they were taken you might see them in a whole new light.

A camera, computer, light box, projectors and software—these tools were used in the interactive art installation by Philip Worthington entitled Shadow Monsters at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. Visitors would drop by the exhibit to try their hands (heh) at making shadow monsters. Upon stepping in front of the light box, their shadows morphed into creatures that were made more believable by a combination of sound and animation effects. It was difficult to gauge who were enjoying themselves more—the children or the adults. Photographer Joseph O. Holmes took notice of the silhouettes of those making shadow monsters and saw it as an opportunity for a new photo project.

He writes:

“Though the projects were charming, I found myself turning around to watch the visitors instead, as they twisted and contorted their bodies and faces before dozens of watching museum-goers, a study in body language, dance, theater, and self-consciousness.”

He chose to photograph the people in action rather than the shadow monsters they created. This behind-the-scenes photo series of sorts turned out to be an excellent accompaniment to Philip Worthington’s interactive art installation. In fact, in some of these shots, it looks as if the participants were more interested in creating beautiful silhouettes than making shadow monsters.

Holmes snapped these photos among many others:

photo of silhouette in shadow monster exhibit

photo of silhouette in shadow monster exhibit

photo of silhouette in shadow monster exhibit

You can view the rest on Holmes’ website.

Museumgoers were probably just as drawn to the participants as they were to the projections. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a lot more of these silhouette photos circulating on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and etc.

If you were around while the interactive art installation was on display at the Museum of Modern Art, feel free to share some of your photos with us, be it a shadow monster shot or behind the scenes silhouette shots!

Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.