Posted at 03:39 PM ET, 07/12/2011

Cinemagraphs: What it looks like when a photo moves

cinemagraph of a kissing couple with teacup

It’s somewhere between a photo and a video, a piece of artwork that seeks to perfectly capture a fleeting moment in time.

New York City-based photographer Jamie Beck and Web designer Kevin Burg “hand-stitch” together her photos and his Web design to make animated gifs they now call “cinemagraphs.”

Beck and Burg first started making cinemagraphs at Fashion Week in New York earlier this year, spending a day or two to capture Vogue magazine’s Anna Wintour examining the catwalk, or the fluttering of a fashion model’s hair. People loved their work so much that Beck and Burg soon expanded to longer narratives, about how Dogfish Brewey makes its beer (below), or profiles that captured a moment in the life of a couple in love in Brooklyn (above). Companies even asked their help in making food come alive.

“It’s taken over our whole lives,” Beck says.

Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha was one of their earlier cinemagraphs:

cinemagraph of a fashion model

Along with Anna Wintour:

cinemagraph of anna seeing everything

Both artists say making cinemagraphs, which starts with a photo that becomes a .gif file and goes through Photoshop, have changed the way they think about their art.

“I was shooting a building to make a cinemagraph one day, and nothing moved. I thought, well this is dumb,” Beck says. “But then the light changed, a bird flew by, and I realized that everything is alive. I just had to start training my eye. I had to start visualizing cinemagraphs.”

Burg agrees. “I’m forced to learn new things every time I create a cinemagraph. I learn how to better control things, and how to better explain what’s happening in the picture.”

Both Beck and Burg live in New York and they now often make cinemagraphs that tell about a simple aspect of the city:

cinemagraph of a man reading a newspaper in Central Park

Some day, they hope to do a whole study on New York.

For now, they’re content with a month-long project they recently completed on Dogfish Brewery, in which they captured the strawberries, hand crushing, sorghum, and molasses that are all part of the beer-making process:

cinemagraph of a beer being poured

Burg says the favorite cinemagraph he’s created is of Beck on the top of Rockefeller Center in New York. “The motion is subtle, and it’s fairly simple, but I just love the angle of the shot.”

cinemagraph of a viewfinder in new york

If you look away for an instant, you will miss the car passing in this cinegraph:

cinemagraph of a bar scene

All of their work is collected on the Tumblr, From Me to You.

Artists who’ve seen their work want to make cinemagraphs too, and tutorials can now be found on how to do it online.

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By  |  03:39 PM ET, 07/12/2011

 
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