Deb Joseph
Art and Design Educator

ShadowBox Photomontage after Joseph Cornell

Project Published 10/1/11 Last updated on 5/16/18
The Assignment: Review the work of Joseph Cornell, Conduct the Research Project. In Photoshop construct a “Shadow Box” Photomontage Collage. Choose an Edna St Vincent Millay poem, or other poet or perhaps a myth; get approval. Scan 3 “real” objects you bring in from home that might support your poem choice. You will also choose as many images from image bank that are necessary to create your meaning.

This project is for my 2nd and 3rd year advanced design students. These students have a strong understanding of Composition as well as Photoshop layer-blends already; this assignment ramps that knowledge up a notch or two. First off Students are challenged to make a box from a scan of wood. Additionally they must make things look old and torn, and look dimensional. The objects must look like they are floating or afixed in this "box" somehow. Students also need to create surreal symbolic meaning to support their poem or subject matter of choice.

  • Photoshop

    Editing and compositing for photos, web and mobile app designs, 3D artwork, videos, and more.

Age Levels
1+ Month
Content Standards
Custom Standards

California VAPA Advanced Standards:

1.8 Analyze the works of a well-known artist as to the art media selected and the effect of that selection on the artist's style.
2.4 Demonstrate in their own works of art a personal style and an advanced proficiency in communicating an idea, theme, or emotion.
2.5 Use innovative visual metaphors in creating works of art.
4.3 Analyze and articulate how society influences the interpretation and message of a work of art.
5.2 Compare and contrast works of art, probing beyond the obvious and identifying psychological content found in the symbols and images.

Research and Information Fluency, Creativity and Innovation, Technology Operations and Concepts, Critical Thinking Problem Solving and Decision Making


Necessary items: Computers.  Internet Access. Adobe Creative Suite.  Photoshop - for image manipulation and collaging.  Illustrator - for constructing some components like "string" for hanging objects.  Eventually - Dreamweaver for creating an interactive website.  Or alternatively; using the shadowbox content to create an interactive ebook in InDesign.

CC License
Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives
4 / 5 • 6 Ratings

Resources (2)

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Comments (2)

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Kev Lavery

Posted on 5/7/15 1:26:59 AM Permalink

This is cool. I got into Joseph Cornell through Jonathan Safran Foer's anthology of writing inspired by Cornel. It's quite trippy, given my introduction to Cornell, to see him as a springboard into appropriating other works of literature.

This is a really inspiring assignment. I wish I was in this class.

John Doherty

Posted on 9/7/12 2:37:10 PM Permalink

Nice idea. I realy like the above example.