Photography in Motion : The Creativity of Cinemagraphs

September 12th, 2011

Animated gifs, while being considered the bane of certain one-time popular social networking sites, have long been criticized by the design community. Seen as mere throwbacks to a less mature stage in the life of the internet, and therefore written off by many in the field. However, a creative duo took these throwbacks in a completely artistic and inspired direction. Using high speed photography and animating masked sections, of the images, Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg have given rise to a new trend in the photography field, Cinemagraphs.

More than your basic animated image, these not-so still life captures have elements (some major, some minor) within the photograph that are set in motion. Taking the photograph into a interesting new realm, that has begun to catch on, and spread like wildfire. Below we take a look through some of the images from the gallery of the two innovative minds that begat this visually intriguing artform.

Jamie Beck & Kevin Burg

When photographer Jamie Beck partnered with graphic artist Kevin Burg, cinemagraphs (which until then were tinkering ideas in Burg’s mind) came to life. The two collaborated to take the field of photography and carve out a new niche within it that would forever change the way we view and capture those once frozen moments from time.

Excerpt from the Site

A Cinemagraph is an image that contains within itself a living moment that allows a glimpse of time to be experienced and preserved endlessly.

On their site Cinemagraphs, you can view their many more amazing pieces than the handful we have gathered here. If you have some spare time, it really is worth going through. As we mentioned, here are just a few:

With Coco Rocha

The following set was created when Beck and Burg spent the day with fashion model Coco Rocha. Through these gorgeous captures, we see the deeply emotive nature that cinemagraphs can contain. Elevating the impact the photographs would otherwise pack.


Below are some cinemagraphs by random artists who have taken to this new form, and wrought some inspiring works from its grips. They have brilliantly gone through the door opened wide Beck and Burg. Enjoy!

Cinemagraph by burakereno

Vela by Osvaldo Gon

Untitled by m-a-r-v-i-n

An Endless Song by MarvelousJewFish

As Time Goes By by Ludmila Vilarinhos

A Loop In Time by Edouard Olszewski (2 from the set featured)

Untitled by Mark Saldana

Swaying by MarvelousJewFish

Create Your Own

Naturally, we couldn’t let you out of here without providing you with a few resources that you can take along with you in case you want to try your own hand at this artform. Or if you would just like to see more specifically how it is done. Either way, be sure that you take a look at the tips and tuts offered below.


Angie Bowen is a freelance artist, designer and writer as well as a founding member and editor of the Arbenting Design Blog.


51 comments for „Photography in Motion : The Creativity of Cinemagraphs
  1. Rick on September 12th, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    What an absolutely amazing set of images, definitely a long ways away from the animated gifs I remember :) thanks for the share

    • Khaled on September 14th, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      Exactly what I was thinking. The resurrection of GIFS, 2011 style.

  2. Kelly on September 12th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    These are magical! They look like photographs from Harry Potter!

    • Luis on September 12th, 2011 at 6:49 pm

      That’s what I thought too. When I saw these I immediately remembered the photos from the Harry Potter movies.

    • George | Postcards on September 14th, 2011 at 10:57 am

      I also thought the same thing about the movie Harry Potter, where the people inside the picture are moving. This is fantastic! I want to learn how to do it.

  3. JB Web Design on September 12th, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    These are totally stunning. Some amazing images

  4. Jon on September 12th, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    You’ve just made me completely re-think how I feel about animated GIF’s. I have a few angry blog posts to edit now :) Awesome article.

  5. Bruce Isabelle on September 12th, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Amazing Animations on images, like it…. I m working to learn photoshop my self to do those things…. Hard but not impossible.

  6. Theo on September 13th, 2011 at 1:46 am

    Great examples, once again it’s not about the technology you use it’s about what you do whit it.

  7. Amey on September 13th, 2011 at 5:32 am

    These are pretty cool images, but a little creepy too.

  8. Dimitris Bor on September 13th, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Very nice.
    But, when i first read the article it gave me a more romantic feeling about making these photos.
    Somewhere you say: “Using ‘high speed photography’ and animating masked sections of the images, Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg have given rise to a new trend in the photography field, Cinemagraphs.”

    It was very disappointing to see that all of the tutorials you listed below used video and not high speed photography… Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay, and the results are still great, but for me the magic is lost.

    • Robert Bowen on September 14th, 2011 at 9:10 pm

      Hey Dimitris, sorry to disappoint, but the reason the tutorials that are included do not use the high speed photography method, is because we wanted to give everyone the opportunity to create them. Not just the select few that have the professional equipment to be able capture the photos as needed. This makes the approach slightly more accessible, while still demonstrating ways to animate the small sections of the images. So it was an attempt to make it seem like more of an approachable method. Again, sorry it didn’t come off that way.

      Noupe Editorial Team

  9. Urviho on September 13th, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Whau.. it’s amazing :)

  10. Toni on September 13th, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Amazing! Nothing else to say.

  11. Kundan on September 13th, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Truly fabulous :D
    made me speechless for a min :)

  12. didip on September 14th, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Some of them are unnatural and creepy (like the last one..), but the others are romantic and and really stunning.

  13. Abacos on September 14th, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Great group of gifs. I love using them and most people I talk to about it say they are out of date. Nice to see these great ones!

  14. Robert Bowen on September 14th, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Glad the post has grabbed your attentions! It is very Harry Potter like and that’s part of why it is such a magical effect. Not sure I share the creepy factor that others have mentioned, but hopefully it is creepy in a good way. :) Thanks for all the feedback.

    Noupe Editorial Team

  15. Glaiza Bernaldez on September 16th, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Definitely Awesome! I feel inspired by this collection. :thumbsup:

  16. pablo on September 18th, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Truly amazing!
    This is something that always crossed my mind but never got to do it. Its so simple, subtle and overly beautiful.

  17. Abe on September 18th, 2011 at 1:07 am

    What an amazing image set!
    I liked it very much.
    Thanks for sharing this outstanding collection.

  18. Vijayanathan on September 18th, 2011 at 8:20 am

    great job

  19. Tamer on September 18th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I con’t expected this photos have only 265 colors

  20. David on September 19th, 2011 at 6:11 am

    These are awesome, I especially like the one with the guy reading the newspaper.

  21. Nish on September 19th, 2011 at 8:54 am

    That was AMAZING!!!!!

  22. Nand Kishor Singh on September 19th, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Really awesome photos! Are they a sequence of photo shots or there is some other way to make these. Please reply.

  23. Speider on September 20th, 2011 at 6:38 am

    I’m throwing away all my prancing glitter unicorn gifs and getting with these! Real WOW! factor stuff.

  24. Mark Buskbjerg on September 22nd, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Damn, this looks really cool!

  25. Greg on September 23rd, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Very cool and Goth! And yes, creepy in a romantic and cool way! I can see making a cinemagraph movie short or paring this technique to music for cool video effects. I give this 5 stars!

  26. Victor Miranda on September 26th, 2011 at 4:03 am

    Excellent information, thanks for share this, Regards

  27. metko on September 26th, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Use apng image format for more colors and alpha channel.

  28. Dhiren Suthar on September 28th, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Its awesome

  29. Rakesh on September 28th, 2011 at 7:31 am

    wow nice set of animations., loved a lot

  30. Argie on September 29th, 2011 at 2:42 am

    This is something great and awesome to try, I am a Videographer and I really also love photography and Cinematography. And now there is Cinemagraphy a combination of Photography, Videography and Cinematography. Thanks for the share :) it’s really beautiful

  31. james on October 9th, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Great use of discreet movement to gently catch the eye and making the connection to movement. Will explore and share this technique with others.

  32. Malika on October 12th, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Amazingly Beautiful !!

  33. Fabiano Guerra on October 14th, 2011 at 10:16 am

    You make me see gif with another eyes, thinking in the possibilities, this give others clothes to the old gif ways… thnx..

  34. Orioto on November 1st, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Great article, i’ve been doing some cinemagraphs in an old black and white photo style.

  35. vishal on November 5th, 2011 at 6:52 am

    Really Very Great Photos!!! Thanx 4 sharing….. enjoyed :)

  36. Chris Jamero on November 6th, 2011 at 8:49 am

    My eyes were like o.O O.O O.o. Just amazing, kind of makes you look and focus on just that part of the image.

  37. Rahma on November 9th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    it reminds me of Photographs in Harry Potter world.. it would be great if we can frame them and hang them on the wall.. aha!

  38. Jared on November 12th, 2011 at 7:16 am

    I have a small print business and enjoy looking at peoples art. These are fantastic but I am a little bummed that this type of art cannot be captured by a still… Great work, I really endoyed it!

  39. Apple Villalobos on November 23rd, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I absolutely need to do this!!!<3

  40. Cap de Zmeu on December 13th, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Amazing set of images. Good stuff

  41. Ali Hamdi on January 26th, 2012 at 1:12 am

    wonderful !!!

  42. Maciek on February 8th, 2012 at 9:24 am
  43. Hugh on February 19th, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Here’s my first attempt at a cinemagraph from my recent trip to Kenya

    you have to click on the image.. still not sure how to get to play automatically in tumblr

  44. Jonny Miller on February 21st, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Will be interesting to see if cinemmagraphs will revolutionise travel photography as well! I think there is a huge amount of potential!

  45. Alisa on April 25th, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK UUUU!!! :)

  46. Stephen Bunn on May 3rd, 2012 at 11:10 am

    These are amazing… have not seen anything like this before

  47. Steve Fuller on October 11th, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    This is stunning work, just fascinating to look at! I think the street night scene with the rain is my favourite.