The world of the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) can be a murky realm, filled with animal outtakes, mind-boggling illusions and never-ending moving portraits of human gaffs. Since the days of Eadweard Muybridge, one of the founding fathers of motion photography, the concept of the dynamic image has morphed and evolved in a thousand different directions, becoming a ubiquitous form of digital interaction as well as an increasingly relevant medium of art.
While we deeply appreciate the amateur endeavors of internet users who've helped make the GIF a staple of online communication, we wanted to draw your attention to the largely unchartered world of GIFs as fine and contemporary art. Straddling the line between performance and technology, the artists who call GIF their medium of choice are breaking barriers of photography with each rendered moment of action. Like a glimpse through the looking glass, the moving photos expand the possibilities of what can and cannot be captured with a camera.
Thanks to Saatchi Gallery and Google+, we've been introduced to a freshman class of GIF masters, artists wont to shun static imagery in favor of pictures that smash, collide, and float. The pair hosted a Motion Photography competition, inviting artists to submit GIFs in six categories: Landscape, Lifestyle, Action, People, Night and Urban. A crew of art world bigwigs sat at the judging table -- Baz Luhrmann, Shezad Dawood, Tracey Emin, Cindy Sherman and Nigel Hurst -- eventually narrowing a pool of 4,000 entries to a group of six finalists and one overall winner.
Christina Rinaldi (winner)
Christina Rinaldi, the triumphant champion whose work is pictured above, was awarded the opportunity to go on a trip with a photography mentor of her choosing, while the five other finalists (and 54 shortlisted photographers) will put their works on view at Saatchi Gallery this month. If you can't make it to London to check out the impressive moving masterpieces, you can glimpse a preview of the motion photographers below. Behold, 10 emerging GIF artists who prove motion photography has no limits:
Kostas Agiannitis (finalist)
Matthew Clarke (finalist)
Micaël Reynaud (finalist)
Stefanie Schneider (finalist)
Emma Critchley (finalist)
[Editor's Note: Damon Scheleur is, in fact, a photographer here at The Huffington Post, and we were happily surprised when Saatchi Gallery sent us his moving photograph. For more on Scheleur's levitation photography, stay tuned...]
The work of the winner, along with the five other finalists and shortlist of 54 motion photographs will be exhibited at the
Saatchi Gallery in London from 17 April –- 24 May 2014. All photos courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London.