You might have seen one or two of these lately…they’re taking the place of video in banner ads on the web pages you visit. When they’re done right, they’re pretty amazing.

They’re called Cinemagraphs, and they are really nothing more than animated GIFs elevated to high art. Graphic designer Kevin Burg and photographer Jamie Beck started calling their works Cinemagraphs in 2011 when they began using this technique to animate their fashion and news photographs.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a Cinemagraph must be worth ten times that. Or maybe even a hundred. Here are a couple upon which to feast your eyes.

But before you get some eye candy, here’s some sustenance for your brain: It’s generally agreed that the modern use of the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words” stems from an article by Fred R. Barnard in the advertising trade journal Printers’ Ink, where Barnard was promoting the use of images in advertisements that appeared on the sides of streetcars. The December 8, 1921 issue carries an ad entitled, “One Look is Worth A Thousand Words.”

Now…here are a few of my most favorite Cinemagraphs.

I just had to throw in that last one. There’s nothing more creepy than those old baby dolls with the blinking eyes.

So sayeth the StickMonkey

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