Year in review, Animated GIF style


Hi all:

So, it’s that time of year again, when we photojournalists begin to collectively navel-gaze a little, and share and discuss our favorite work from the past 12 months.

Folks who’ve been with me for a while now know I usually like to throw a little wrench in that. In years past I would make an update with all my “worst” published images, along with some snarky commentary. It was a like a staple blog post for me and I did it for probably three or more years. But, I lost that archive when I switched over to a new blog. You’re not really missing much, to be honest. Anywho …

Last year I tried something completely different and made a collection of bad, crayon, stick-figure renditions of 10 of my favorite photos — see it here.

My lack of artistic ability aside, the crayon update seemed to go over really well, and I received some truly awesome responses to it. That was definitely pretty humbling, especially since I was, as usual, just joking around.

Well, that kind of put the pressure on for this year I guess. And I wish I could tell you I planned this version out a bunch, but I didn’t. I honestly kind of forgot about everything until I got some “So what do you have for us this year?” messages on social media. Uhm, whoops?

As the title suggests, this year’s concept is animated gifs. I basically did it for a couple of reasons.

First being, just because I wanted to. I’ve been following some really fun animated gif work of a fellow photographer and acquaintance of mine, Trent Nelson of The Salt Lake (City) Tribune. Check out a collection of his work here. It’s all really fun and a great use of the medium.

The second reason was sort of hyper-critical, which is what I’m really pretty good at.

One thing that has really annoyed me for some time is my reliance upon camera motor drives. When shooting sports work or the like — fast-moving action of some kind — it makes sense. And, every new camera on the market seems to have faster and faster shutters (as well as better-tracking autofocus), so my ability to track and shoot those sequences gets better just by default.

But rather than power that drive down (or turn it completely off) when I’m shooting daily news, features and such, I kind of just let it roll … and burn through thousands upon thousands of 1’s and 0’s in the process.

I sort of blogged about this once before on my paper’s photography blog. You can read that here.

Another photographer friend of mine, Sol Neelman, jokingly coined that whole idea “The Decisive Motor Drive.” And that’s totally how I feel. Looking back over some of my favorite images from this year, I see a lot of pretty solid moments. But when I look at the “outs” — or, the sequences around the selected images — I see nothing but long spells of motor driving. I almost feel a little like another joking phrase we photographers throw around some: “Spray and Pray.”

Maybe over the next year I’ll work harder at getting back to basics — at better anticipating precise moments, instead of just getting in the ballpark and letting technology do the rest. That’s the hope, anyway, but who really knows. The fact is however I’m making these images seems to work, and there’s something to be said for “not fixing it if it ain’t broken,” right?

Guess we’ll see. In the meantime, here are those animated gifs I was talking about. By now I’m pretty sure they’ve all loaded. I’ll have a “proper” year-in-review post up in a few more days.

Thanks for your time,

– gerry –



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