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What do you get if you cross photography, video and animation? The answer isn’t a mundane punchline, but a photography technique known as a Cinemagraph. 

A Cinemagraph is effectively a still photograph in which minor and repeated movements are animated. This creates an unusual parallel between still life and motion, thoroughly confusing the brain. The technique can be used to animate certain elements of a still photograph, subsequently highlighting the object in motion, making it an obvious choice for advertising.

Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck of Ann Street Studio created the first Cinemagraph in 2011. They describe a Cinemagraph as ‘a living moment in an otherwise still photograph. It exists in the world in between a photograph and video to bring to life the image and make it last forever’. With Cinemagraphs becoming a viable alternative option to photography, we look at how different brands have embraced the technique.

Smile for the Cinemagraph

An example of a brand embracing Cinemagraphs are GlassesDirect. Their brand was created by London based design studio Someone. Working with film maker Simon Warren, Someone created a range of animated GIF files to be used throughout the brand. Someone explain how ‘The technique of Cinemagraph was employed to keep pages visually calm, but visibly alive.’

Warren views the Cinemagraph as fusion between three mediums stating ‘Just as the brand is mixing up the best of retail and home service, we’ve fused the worlds of film, stills and animation.’

Smile for the Cinemagraph

High end fashion giants Stuart Weitzman incorporated Cinemagraphs into one of their Instagram campaigns. Susan Duffy, Chief Marketing Officer of Stuart Weitzman stated ‘Cinemagraph allow us to share mesmerizing moments that extend the visual vocabulary of the brand. We are very excited to bring life to this innovative Instagram campaign, which will enable us to connect with new consumers on an intimate and aspirational level. The opportunities for engagement and organic reach are limitless.’

Smile for the Cinemagraph

The highly versatile format of the Cinemagraph enables it to be used across a wide variety of mediums with relative ease. Although in some cases the subtle hints of movement in a still photograph create a strangely unnerving feeling, the juxtaposition between the moving and still elements enable a brand to portray an ‘in the moment’ feeling without the stillness of a photograph or the busyness of a video.