The Museum of Modern Art in New York created an interactive system which allowed visitors to create shadow puppets. The system provided a complete package, with sounds and animation included in the show. Photographer Joseph O. Holmes saw the perfect opportunity in this exhibition and decided to capture what is going on behind the curtains.
“Shadow Monsters” was an exhibition which opened its doors to participants on December 7th, 2012 and it remained like that until January 2nd, 2013. The installation required a single camera, a computer, two projectors, unique software, and a light box.
Creating shadow monsters behind the scenes
Participants had to go in the front of the light box and start making shadow puppets. Their actions were augmented by computer software and the shadow puppets turned into dinosaurs, sharks and other scary animals. All they had to do is to be as expressive as possible, in order to help the system create scarier animations and sounds.
The project did not focus only on the shadows, as there were lots of scary animal sounds, that turned this exhibition into a “real” monster show. The project was then changed into a photo shoot by Joseph O. Holmes, who captured the silhouettes of the people making the shadow monsters.
Silhouette photography of people making shadow monsters
The photographer was not interested in the animation, nor the squawks of the monsters. However, he was captured by the funny positions and actions of the participants, who were trying to create scary animations and sounds on the two projectors.
However, Holmes praised the installation created by Philip Worthington, but he was almost entirely captured by the “twisted and contorted bodies” behind the scenes. He added that this was a perfect time to study the museum-goers’ body language, their dancing and their acting capabilities.
Most of the images were taken using a Nikon D800 and a lens set a 50mm or 80mm focal length. Other settings used for the photo shoot were 1/500 shutter speed, f/4 or f/4.5 aperture, and an ISO range between 400 to 800.
The entire photo shoot is worth watching as it shows people in various situations. Some decided to be romantic, other people jumped, many participants danced, while others flexed their muscles. What is certain is that they had a lot of fun during the entire time.