The Art of Shadows (Video’s)

Shadowgraphy or ombromanie is the art of performing a story or show using images made by hand shadows. It can be called “cinema in silhouette”. Performers of the art are often called a shadowgraphist or shadowgrapher.

shadowgraphy, advertisment, Guernsey 1889

An 1889 shadowgraphy advertisement depicts examples of hand shadows

 The art has declined since the late 19th century when electricity became available to homes because light bulbs and electric lamps do not give off good shadows and also because cinema and television were becoming a new form of entertainment. Shadows are greatly defined by candlelight and therefore hand shadows were common in earlier centuries.

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10 Responses to The Art of Shadows (Video’s)

  1. Rebekah says:

    What amazing stuff … in its true meaning! As kids, we used to make some simple things for fun, but this is true art!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Rebekah,
      Yes I also used to do shadows on the wall as a kid, I was never very good, but it was fun.
      These people in the video are awesome, it just seems effortless to them, it would be great to actually see this live.

  2. travelrat says:

    I can do a sheepdog, a rabbit or a butterfly!

  3. souldipper says:

    Hearing Satchmo and seeing the profile was a blast! We used to try to make up figures under the light of kersosene lamps, but only ended up creating some new animals, I’m afraid! I think some may have given us the odd nightmare! 🙂

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi souldipper,
      It is amazing how hard it is to do, you don’t realize until you have a go, there was some kids, way back in my school days, that could do some good shadow images.

  4. Selma says:

    I love it. I asked my son if he could do any shadow puppets and you won’t believe what he showed me. Little ratbag. The things they teach kids in school these days 🙄 Hahaha.

    Have you ever seen the Balinese shadow puppet plays? There used to be a troupe that put them on at Sydney University on Saturday afternoons. They were quite beautiful. There is something really magical about a shadow story!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Selma,
      It’s amazing what the kids seem to know these days. I have never had the pleasure of seeing the Balinese shadow puppets, but it certainly sounds like it is well worth going to see.

  5. I love this video. Thank you for passing it along to all of us.

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