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Truly 'moving' images

Model Coco Rocha demonstrates the captivating effect of the Cinemagraph. Image by Jamie Beck.

In a world that can feel visually oversaturated with images, some photographers are seeking solutions that draw viewers' attention and ask them to linger a little longer.

Model Coco Rocha recently shared her take on the dynamic image trend on PC Magazine, exploring how animated GIFs, Cinemagraphs, Lytro images and interactive 360-degree panoramas are helping photographers stand out.

She cites some interesting recent examples, such as photographer Steven Meisel's "Haute Mess” editorial feature for Italian Vogue that featured animated GIFs.

 Photographer Steven Meisel created this animated GIF for Italian Vogue.

The combination of trending fashion and trending tech garnered far more attention than still images could. (See more "Haute Mess" here.)

Extra eyes and longer looks are attractive to advertisers — a fact artists Jamie Beck and Kevin Berg capitalize upon by creating Cinemagraphs for the likes of Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Juicy Couture. The subtly shifting images (a type of animated GIF in which typically only a portion of the scene or subject moves) invites a second, and third, glance.

Rocha also explores a unique use of the Lytro camera that implores the viewer to investigate a photo futher, and photographer Steven Sebring's interative 360-degree images captured using his self-designed multicamera "rig."

She offered this commentary on the moving image trend:

"I predict there will be a backlash to the oversaturation of images and other visual content on the Web where nearly everything is a disposable commodity with an expiration of less than a second ... Rather than being superfluous and trivial, these new forms or images will be aspirational and again capture our attention, hearts, and minds for far more than just a moment."

Read Rocha's full article on


Total comments: 15

The first picture looks more like a drawing than a photo. Reminds me of some mystery themed PC games in the 90s.


There aren't many things where you can make do with 256 colors...
I like the 1st gif, not the 2nd, and can't imagine anyone non-commercial going to pay the price for one of these.

Mark Turney

Eh .... then what's the point if capturing a "moment"? This is just a short movie :-(


Excellent, maikD. Really inspired to try myself.


Now THAT is FAR more interesting!!


Just in case folks care the new NEX-6 and 5R have an app available called Cinematic Image or something along those lines. From the demo I've seen it is very easy to do right in the camera with the app.

1 upvote

The main stumbling block to motion in images is you need an engine to run the movement, a contraption to host the engine, and a whole list of ideal parameters to appreciate the work.

In print, or static digital images, WYSIWYG.


Richard Murdey

Motion Snapshot(tm)



The first one is interesting and effective, similar to the effect used in "La Jetee" -- because it is used sparingly and well.

The second (gif) is annoying as crap as are nearly all animated gifs. It would be fine with me if they were banned completely. ;)

Still, a photograph is a photograph and not a movie or animation. Art can employ any tools and any combination of tools for effect, but photography is the still image in all it's majesty. The static nature of the image is, of course, essential (in my opinion). The world around us is constantly moving and changing, a photograph captures a moment from this stream of time. That's the beauty of it for me.

Of course, this is all, perhaps, completely obvious to everyone here.


Agree completley, but think these animations may at least allow those who have been awashed with the oversaturation of mass produced images to be hypnotised long enough to really appreciate the beauty of the still image albeit part of a series of joined and repeating similar images. Especially for those born in the digital age. Much of my own inspiration for still photography especially composition came from the movies after all.


The cinemagraph is quite captivating - for a little while. The animated GIF though is just annoying. But they're both just looped images - how long can you stare at such things before getting fed up? Its not something you can come back to years later and still appreciate like a good photograph. Still I like the idea of say having a photo of a model with the sea constantly lapping the shore in the background or say a sheet of fine fabric blowing in the wind...but again the appeal will quickly waver.

Edited 4 times; latest 7 minutes since posting

Oh, good grief, no, lol.

Just no.

This drek, and that's what it is, is targeted only at the lowest possible denominator -- the droolers. Still photography is its own art and archive and history. I'll leave the knee jerking to others. If the audience is smaller by virtue of the twitchy types going elsewhere, that's perfectly ok -- those that remain are precisely the audience I want. It's not about quantity. It's about quality.


so, a photographer made a high res gif.. or a short motion picture.. that loops.. woot? 0_o

1 upvote

That first is mildly interesting, but the animation is necessary to make the image interesting...
That second just makes me dizzy. Help, I want to get off this ride!!

Total comments: 15
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