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Gif art: Not an oxymoron

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Animated gifs were mostly intended for the lazy. For those unfamiliar with the online phenomenon, gifs are animated image files that can be embedded in posts and in post comments (they are more frequently found in the latter). So, rather than writing out a thoughtful response, a person can instead post an animated clip meant to work as a shorthand reaction. These can sometimes be funny, but more often than not they are redundant and ineffective as web surfers tend to post the same image responses over and over again.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the gif is it's potential; it certainly is nifty to communicate through pictures. Yet while this may may sound intriguing, popular images being used right now include things like Nyan the Pop-Tart Cat, Michael Jackson eating popcorn, and lots and lots of Jersey Shore clips.

But why can't animated gifs be more clever and artistic? This is the approach taken in the amazingly cool pieces created by photographer Jamie Beck and web designer Kevin Burg.

[jump] Check out what happens to the above image after they add their finishing touches:

 

The idea to add slight movement to photography came to the New York City duo during Fashion Week. The resulting effect can be grand, such as the animated image of dancing lovers above, or incredibly subtle, as demonstrated in the glimmer of sunlight between leaves in the wind.

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For the past couple months, Beck and Burg have been uploading new moving gifs ranging from fashionable ladies, to retro photography, to quiet city moments. The added elements give works a bit of magical feeling a little reminiscent of the living photography of Harry Potter.

While the world of crappy, homemade gifs will probably thrive for some time, we appreciate that this:

Is a pretty dramatic jump in quality ahead of this:

To check out more work from Beck and Burg, visit their Tumblr, From Me To You.