Story Behind Those Ever So Subtle Gif


The cinematic gif trend is sweeping the globe and we just can't get enough of it! Ana Pais, the person behind those every so subtle ones, opens up to us about how she ended up making such a mesmerizing set, explaining how her past experiences all played a part in creating a career defining moment.


What is your background. Where do you live and how long have you been a photographer?
I was born in Venezuela, and came to Portugal when I was 5 years old. I studied art in high school and then I studied communication design during the next four years, three of which were spent at Oportos Fine Arts college, while the last one was spent at Moholy-Nagy Art and Design University in Budapest, as an erasmus student.

While at Budapest, I had the opportunity to travel through Eastern Europe. I met new and different cultures and people. Photography has been present since I started to take photos of myself when I was 16, with a 3 megapixel camera. It was that way that I learned how to take pictures, using myself as a model and experimenting a lot. Since I graduated as a graphic designer, I've been intersecting both design and photography, and trying new approaches on what I can do. These are my passions.

How hard was it to make these? Did it take a team of people?
This was my first experiment using this technique, so I did not have time to produce a full photo shoot from the beginning, and that was kind of hard for me, since I had to use a video already recorded and edited by a friend, and since the camera is moving a bit, it is hard to go frame by frame and correct the most important details. But it turned out to be a nice challenge, and I actually love that I used a video from a friend of mine, Andr Tentugal, and collaborated with Christian.

How would you describe your gifs?
It is mainly an experimental project, inspired by the quote from Roland Barthes – “What the photograph reproduces to infinity has occurred only once: the photograph mechanically repeats, what could never be repeated existentially.”

I tried to make these moments last forever, against death and oblivion, making the project a bit bizarre but very sentimental. The repetition here works pretty well through the loop, which is something mechanical and not human, so the images seem alive and at the same time dead or robotic.

I did not test the technique on various subjects, without a concept or direction, because I was not merely interested in the technique but in the conceptual part.

I focused on the sensorial experience that the viewer would feel as he watched the images, and the idea of something stuck in time, and eternal.

So I used a sequence of images that tell a narrative, a story, allowing the observer to interact with the project as it will relate to the image seen. The colors and the environment on Tentugals video helped to emphasize the expression of the models (or lack thereof), and convey this idea of something deep and dark, something that has no life, because “life” would be present in the motion side of the gif image.

I see this project as a new approach to the concept of filming, in which images get a different value when viewed individually and when viewed together with other images.

Were you inspired by others like Jamie Beck and her cinemagraphs?
I did not know Jamie Beck and Kevin Burgs work at that time but i was inspired by a few images I sawhere. Then, when i uploaded my project into Behance, i got a lot of exposure, and a few people showed me the gifs from Jamie Beck, which I completely love and I am praised for such comparison but they are much better in terms of technique.

How has your series been received?
That is a really nice question, because I was actually surprised, not only because of the great amount of people enjoying what we have created (15,000 views in 5 days, and hundreds of likes and shares on Facebook, Twitter and featured on the best creative platforms on the web) but, especially because a lot of people have mentioned the same things and they did not have any connection to each other. They mentioned that the images were mesmerizing, hypnotic, strange, bizarre but somehow beautiful. A lot of them told me that they did not know why, but they loved them, although they seemed a bit dark and mysterious.

Thanks for the interview, Ana! Can't wait to see what you have next in store for us!

Keep up with Ana Pais be following her on Twitter or Facebook.

Want to become a My Modern Met Member?

Find out how by becoming a Patron. Check out the exclusive rewards, here.

Sponsored Content