The GIF, those little graphics on loop that have driven many a web user crazy, is back and has gone up-market. The Graphics Interface Format has been around since the mid-1980s but it is only recently that its artistic value has been recognised. A blog by Jamie Beck, a New York photographer illustrates the GIF’s change of register, its coming of age. There’s a similar Tumblr album, If we don't remember me, which presents some high-quality GIF’s taken from films. The separation of the start and the end of the loop is difficult to spot.
Such attention to detail is, sadly, lacking in most of the GIFs out there on the internet. Their numbers have tailed off slightly recently since their initial explosion onto our screens. Back then they were crude, simplistic and extremely contagious. Remember the dancing banana or the little @ signs that turned round and round? .
Animated photos and videos soon took over from the graphic GIF in the name of humour. Often bad taste, they mixed the comic and the absurd. Here are some classic examples: the two-legged giraffe, the Hendrix cat, the life-sized Pacman, or the human skateboard. Video GIFs are also a handy way of emphasising a good fail. They’re silly, they’re daft but good for a bit of fun that goes on and on and on and on…..