Digital: Harry’s Portraits Optical Flow GIFs

by Beauchamp Art


Harry’s Portraits Optical Flow GIFs

GIFs made from the key frames from the multilayered, optically flowing version of the film made from Harry’s 100 digital portraits.

These worked particularly well as the digitally amalgamation as a result of the reprocessing of the images was then furthered by the visual flow created by the rapidity of the images before the viewer’s eyes, so they appear to blend and present common features from the centre of the face outwards.

This is more evident in the first version of the GIF, as the frames are displayed as rapidly as possible, whereas in the second version the slower frame rate means each image can be individually identified more easily, but as the sequence is non-linear, then there is still a continuum created through the reading of the image like a film; the eye presumes the sequence of images is indicative of that which moves relative to a movement in life, but what is presented does not reflect this; it could be seen to represent the break in the sense of normal cinematic linearity.


This could be seen as a response to the production of modern mass media to fit into an ongoing global exposition of information, which may result in a situation in which “all merge together into an endless stream of continuous ‘programming’” [Creeber, 2013: 54]. Indeed, this could have been continued by further reprocessing of the images, feeding the images back on themselves repeatedly until all that remains would be a blurred hue with the two darkened patches where the eyes of each image correlated.

Moreover, the GIF, unlike a digital film, cannot be paused, once the file is opened (and the machine is processing effectively) then the sequence will play. To examine each image, it has to be open in software designed for editing (although the embedding of the file still indicates a level of editing through interface measures).