Brilliant Cinemagraph – A Hybrid of Still Images and Video Turned Mini Films

by Daniel Haim

Many people are familiar with “GIF” images. Most would recognize them from sites like as the clip of 3 – 4 looped moving images that have started many an internet meme. But Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg have taken a popular internet gimmick and incorporated it into a new way of looking at and thinking of photography.

The cinemagraph combines still images and video to create a magnificent hybrid of still photography and mini film. In a cinemagraph, a portion of the image is moving while the rest of the photo remains static. All cinemagraphs start out as still photos, manipulated by adding a loop of 10-90 frames of video of part of the subject superimposed over the still image.

Anna Wintour, by Jamie Beck & Kevin Burg

You could think of them as the new flipbooks, but their application could reshape the landscape of magazine editorials. The development of cinemagraphs highlights the increasing advantage of online magazines over paper publications. Online magazines are increasingly becoming the best medium to accommodate developments in photography and technology as a whole, allowing incorporation of something like the cinemagraph into future photo editorials.

Some of the pictures by Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg have a beautiful and unsettling quality. They are reminiscent of the famous scene in Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast, where the portrait on the wall has its eyes magically come to life. The cinemagraph technique works best when employing small changes, subtle motion that catches the viewer off guard.

We’re looking forward to more of Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg’s work, and seeing the cinemagraph appear in many mediums and publications as its popularity grows.