Take, for example, an image photographed expertly of a beautiful woman standing in the breeze. It’s a stunning shot and on looking at it, it becomes alive to you. But imagine if you could put some sort of life into it – and not just in a figurative sense – maybe with her hair or dress moving slightly. Cinemagraphs have made a way for that to be possible and are appearing all over the Net for their ingenuity in simplicity and their versatility.
Basically, cinemagraphs are still photos which have a small but repeated movement in them. They are usually made in GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) format and give the viewer the impression of watching a video, when it is still actually an image. Usually, cinemagraphs are produced from a series of images or a video recording which are composed together using editing software making the image become an uninterrupted loop of continuous frames, giving the image movement between exposures. This is then perceived as the repeated motion in the image.
Although GIF files have been around since the 80s, the vividness and clarity of cinemagraphs – and the term itself – is relatively recent. The term "cinemagraph" was coined by US photographers (and couple) Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck of Ann Street Studio in Manhattan, New York, who used the technique to animate their fashion and news photographs in early 2011.
The photographers collaborated in 2009, after years of friendship, and were married in 2012. Their passion for photography and stirring emotion from images brought them together. Some of their most beautiful cinemagraphs are those of model Coco Rocha and their clients so far have included Google, Donna Karan, Tiffany & Co., Veuve Clicquot, Rachel Zoe, and Oscar de la Renta among others.
Cinemagraphs have managed to capture beauty, glamour and fantasy in an image. Granted cinemagraphs cannot be printed, but that makes this kind of photography all the more a unique digital art form. Cinemagraphs now incorporate two of the most affecting forms of documentation, film and photographs, into one stunning package.