The cinemagraph:combining the old and the new

(Last Updated On: November 23, 2011)

My friend Colleen Wainwright came to town to speak to the Michigan ASMP chapter about being awesome.  She can do that because she is awesome.

During her talk she reacquainted us with the story of the cinemagraph. These enchanting images are moving photographs using an old technology — gif animation files.  Gif files were invented in the 1980s as a standard image format for CompuServe.  For more than 20 years we have equated these easy-to-make gif files with low-quality and cheesy graphic animations.

In 2009 Kevin Burg started playing with the concept at a higher level. Later he connected with photographer Jamie Beck and together they created their and — the cinemagraph.  They combine high-quality photography and gifs.  They embrace the concept that less is more to create stunning imagery.

This concept is growing in popularity as photographers and viewers discover the beauty of combining photography with this simple technology. These moving photographs have become popular in the social media through sites such as  Tumblr.     Lifehacker , a popular blog,  recently posted a tutorial on how to make cinemagraphs. One of the better tutorials I’ve found on the Web is at photojojo.

As this concept continues to grow, Kevin and Jamie will have an advantage over all who embrace this technique.  They coined the term cinemagraph, own, and will always be known as the experts on the topic.

by Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck


There is a learning curve to creating cinemagraphs.  High-end cinemagraphs take the vision and skill of an experienced photographer, the planning of a movie director, editing skills of a videographer, and a solid understanding of Photoshop.

This is an excellent medium to capture the attention of website viewers.  I think quality cinemagraphs have a lot of room to grow in marketing and advertising online.

What do you think?

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