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Label: motion photography

Friday 04th April 2014The GIF as an Art Form

It's almost impossible to spend any amount of time on the internet without running into animated GIFs. You may not have even realized it, but you have, although the animated GIF (a looping series of images that creates a video-like effect, depending on frame rate) has come a long way from the hideous animated dancing mailbox icons and smiley faces that decorated some of the first webpages to grace the Internet back in the 1990s. By now, the GIF format has been pushed to the limit, being used for a number of purposes from the TV and movie clips that adorn Buzzfeed pages to hilarious home videos of cats shared through social media. But that's not all that GIF has been cooking up, thanks to digital artists hungry to explore the possibilities of every conceivable format.

While most people pronounce GIF with a hard 'g' sound, as in 'good', the creator of the file format apparently originally intended the name to be pronounced with a soft 'g' sound, making the name sound like 'jiff'. Regardless of how it's pronounced, however, the format has been gaining recognition among a new generation of digital artists who are innately comfortable working in digital media. These artists got quite a boost recently thanks to internet tech giant Google's beneficence, as they recently created the Motion Photography Prize, the very first award dedicated to artists working with the animated GIF format.

This isn't simply a viral publicity stunt from Google either, as they partnered with the prestigious Saatchi Gallery in London for the competition, and Nigel Hurst, the Saatchi Gallery CEO, was one of the judges, along with noted director Baz Luhrmann, and artists Cindy Sherman and Tracey Emin, among others. The response to the call for entries was equally impressive, garnering submissions from over 4,000 people from countries all around the world. Submissions were sorted into six categories: people, action, lifestyle, night, urban, and landscape.
 

The overall winner was from Brooklyn-based artist Christina Rinaldi, shown above, for her GIF depicting the brushstrokes of a New York window cleaner. While an interesting submission, some of the finalists in the individual categories seem to show a bit more artistic flair and merit. To view the full set of finalists and some of the runners-up, be sure to visit the Saatchi Gallery website here.

Posted on April 04th 2014 on 06:00pm
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