“A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament.” Oscar Wilde
The Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is a bitmap image format that was introduced by CompuServe in 1987 and has since come into widespread usage on the World Wide Web due to its wide support and portability… In 2012, the word “GIF” was officially recognized as a verb as well as a noun, meaning “to create a GIF file”… GIFs can be used for small animations and low-resolution film clips. The US wing of the Oxford University Press voted it their word of the year, saying that GIFs have evolved into “a tool with serious applications including research and journalism” Wikipedia
When I first read the Weekly Writing Challenge on Animated GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), which, in layman’s term, is a digital file with short, looping animated images/graphics, what came to mind were those garish, animated cartoon character images of the 1980s/90s. I used a few of them in PowerPoint presentations, saw them attached to good/bad jokes, and didn’t think further of the genre… Two decades later, the format has become quite popular. It has moved from its early image of junior high school hijinks to political cartoons of the new millennium, and evolved into an art-form of sorts; becoming sophisticated, engaging, artistic and innovative. It recently gained additional muscle by being voted the Oxford University Press, Oxford American Dictionary, 2012 word of the year. OUP chose Omnishambles as the 2012 word for the Oxford English Dictionary. The GIF has come into its own gaining kudos along the way.
Katherine Martin, Head of the US Dictionaries Program, noted that “The GIF, a compressed file format for images that can be used to create simple, looping animations, turned 25 this year, but like so many other relics of the 80s, it has never been trendier…” Who knew that three letter abbreviation for a file format would one day gain such attention? As I investigated further, I found out that GIF now includes the truly hot – Cinemagraph. Cinemagraph is a term coined by Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg of AnnStreetStudio.com. (Read their Interview.) Cinemagraphs are still photographs in which a minor and repeated movement occurs. For this post, I’ve included a few examples from Jamie and Kevin’s work, (collected on their Tumblr, From Me to You), for your enjoyment. Are GIFs ideal political cartoons for the millennium? Sure. About 51+% WP voters agreed with me. Is this art? Why not. More below.