Live Photos

Perhaps the initial analysis is a tad melodramatic, however, I am enthralled with the prospective new step child in the media world. Photography is the mother, and cinema the proud papa, while all of the crusty soon-to-be ex-professionals sit on the sideline gawking and arguing about the legitimacy of the un-holy union. Where is Cartier-Bresson’s decisive moment when 3 seconds of data is collected with each “press of the shutter”? Where is the sanctity of 1/250th of a second? When did photography take the turn from the technical world of silver halide crystals and developer to a muggle alienating, gif inspired, real life Harry Potter piece of magic?

Live photos present as the snap-shot version of a film clip, or perhaps, as previously stated, the unholy union of cinema and photography. Previously, cinemagraph became a mildly entertaining, but seemingly fly by night, on and off the radar in just a few months event. Haunting images where time seems frozen, but destined to loop infinitely in the swing of an earring or the twirling of a leaf. Cinemagraphs perhaps do not freeze time, as a photograph, but rather suspend it in a perilous cycle. If photography freezes, Cinemagraphs suspend, then Live Photos interact .

MoMa describes Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills as, “Although most of the characters are invented, we sense right away that we already know them. That twinge of instant recognition is what makes the series tick, and it arises from Cindy Sherman’s uncanny poise. There is no wink at the viewer, no open irony, no camp.”
Just as Sherman’s characters offer a “twinge of instant recognition”, this recognition is reliant upon the viewer’s cultural upbringing and exposure to the culture of film and media that Sherman is referencing. Live Photos play off of the modern user’s interaction with animated gifs, that have a not-so-subtle correlation with the early cinematic zoetropes. Just as Sherman merged the mediums through content with film and photography, so does the Live Photo merge the technical mediums of photography, cinema, and the animated gif.