Monsters: Photographs of People Making Silhouettes in a Museum


In December 2012, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City featured an interactive art installation by Philip Worthington called “Shadow Monsters“. The exhibit was created using a computer, a camera, two projectors, a light box, and some clever software. When visitors stepped in front of the light box, their shadows were magically transformed into creatures that were brought to life through sound and animation.

Photographer Joseph O. Holmes saw the unique exhibition as a photo project opportunity. However, instead of photographing the resulting monsters, he decided to turn the camera on the participants themselves, capturing their monster-making activities as a series of silhouettes.

Holmes writes,

Though the projections 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.















Here’s a video showing what the subjects were seeing on the wall in front of them:

You can find Holmes’ entire series of Monster photographs over on his website.

Image credits: Photographs by Joseph O. Holmes and used with permission

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  • Kamil Sladek

    When I saw the very first picture of this post it directly looked familiar to me. Here’s what I shot on my christmas vacation at MoMa:

    It’s nice to see this idea turned into a project. My shot was just one of many sightseeing pictures :)

  • John Kroetch

    It’s the video that made this post — I would’ve loved to be there with my daughter. We would have had so much fun…

  • lidocaineus

    I’m a sucker for a good silhouette so there’s some appeal to this for me… but the framing really bothers me in most of these.