GIFs have, for most of their history, been considered a fairly lowbrow form of media. There’s nothing funnier than watching a TV graphic come out of a football player’s butt on loop. Or a model tripping again and again…and again.
But we’ve seen a growing number of institutions acknowledge their artistic merit. That list now includes The Saatchi Gallery and Google+, which not only proclaimed the medium its own genre–“motion photography”–but launched a six-category competition to recognize artists pushing the genre forward. The contest, which the organizers called the first open entry, global competition drew over 4,000 entries and judges included luminaries Baz Luhrmann and Cindy Sherman. The winner is Brooklyn-based creative director Christina Rinaldi, whose window washer “almost transcends the GIF medium by turning the soapy water into brushstrokes,” according to Sherman.
Rinaldi, the other finalists and a shortlist of 54 motion photographs will be on display at the Saatchi Gallery in London from April 17th through May 24th. See some of the winners’ work here in the gallery above.