New York-based artists Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg are the brains and hands behind Cinemagraph. What are Cinemagraphs, you ask? I'd say they're carefully-crafted super short films in GIF format. You'll be glued to your screen in hypnosis from the eternal loops of beautiful images.
When I covered Philippine Fashion Week for L’Oreal Paris last year, I ended up taking so many photos that I didn’t know what to do with them. It took me hours just to curate which photos to edit and, once I started really editing, I felt bad leaving out tons of good shots.
I took a break, did my daily dose of blog hopping, and stumbled upon fashion photographer Jamie Beck’s blog. She had these gorgeous moving pictures (yes, like the ones in Harry Potter!) of fashion editorials and thought, GIFs, what a good idea! So I ended up animating some of my PFW photos which turned out kinda cool.
Flashforward to 2012 and Beck and her partner Kevin Burg have established Cinemagraphs as a relevant art and advertising medium, especially in today’s hyper digital world. They have since been commissioned by major fashion brands like DKNY, Tiffany & Co., and Christian Louboutin to make Cinemagraphs for their web promotions and advertorials.
According to the twosome, a Cinemagraph is an image that contains within itself a living moment that allows a glimpse of time to be experienced and preserved endlessly. Burg has been experimenting with animating photos since 2009 but it wasn’t until he teamed up with Beck to cover New York Fashion Week that they perfected the technique.
Check out this amazing Cinemagraph of notable photographer Bill Cunningham, shooting from the front row!
They take a traditional photograph, capturing a series of movements, then combining them through the isolated animation of multiple frames to make a Cinemagraph. To quote supermodel Coco Rocha “it’s more than a photo but not quite a video”.
Beck and Burg called the forever-looping pictures “Cinemagraphs” for their cinematic quality while maintaining the principles of traditional photography. The duo are looking forward to exploring the medium as well as pushing this new art form and communication process as the best way to capture a moment in time or create a true living portrait in our digital age while embracing our need to communicate visually and share instantly.
While Beck and Burg make their Cinemagraphs using digital cameras and elaborate set-ups, you can make them the low-fi way too! As our community member ashdinosaur has shown, you can experiment with animating your analogue photos and get a similar cinematic effect!
If you’ve already tried making GIFs out of film photos, comment with a link below. We’d love to see them!