A New York Public Library website

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

Feedback, questions, problems? Get in touch at stereo@nypl.org

Animated GIFs

Now a quarter century old, the GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format, predates the web, but it was the web that made it famous. With updates to the Netscape browser in the mid-90s, animated GIFs (loops of successive images) became a staple of early personal websites, providing an easy way to breathe visual life into static hypertext pages. Cast your mind back to the days of dial-up modems and you may recall little workmen digging into infinity alongside a sign bearing "under construction", or small signs blinking "new" indicating updates. Long before the relentless churn of the web we know today, animated GIFs prefigured, in their charmingly clunky way, the dynamic, always evolving nature of the new medium.

Netscape browser logo 'Under construction' icon 'New!' icon 'This website always under construction'

"Classic" 1990s-era animated GIFs

While most associate them today with amateurish 90s websites, animated GIFs continue to dance across screens around the world, turning up in surprising, subtle new variations that start to erode boundaries between cinema and digital photography. The Stereogranimator joins these latter-day adventures of the venerable GIF, mashing up an important early genre of internet folk art with a nearly forgotten species of folk photography.

Further reading/viewing:

Some animated GIFs produced with the Stereogranimator:

click to see this animated GIF in detail click to see this animated GIF in detail click to see this animated GIF in detail