The Most Beautiful GIFs in (and of) Creation

More

I like a good GIF just as much as the next person, but the image format doesn't exactly call to mind scenes of serene beauty. GIFs are for spicing up a half-completed webpage, providing a sarcastic reaction, or, as The Atlantic Wire's Elspeth Reeve has demonstrated so powerfully, storytelling, but as for the sublime, let's leave that to the .jpeg and .tiff files of this world.

But the work of Marinus Olde Loohuis puts the lie to that. Olde Loohuis'sTumblr, Head Like an Orange, showcases the GIFs he's made out of high-definition footage taken from nature documentaries. (The Tumblr gets its name from a description of British TV and radio personality Karl Pilkington, whose characteristic stupidity is often about nature, evolution, and science, and his inability to grasp it, says Olde Loohuis.) His favorites, he told me over email, are those where the loop is seamless, a beginning and an end non-existent.

Whether it's fog lifting at a mountain's edge or a butterfly flapping by, Olde Loohuis's images take a snippet of a longer documentary and carve it down to a single loop. In the context of a film, any of these moments would have passed in an instant, too brief to stand on their own. But as GIFs, caught in a cycle of endless playback, they gain their independence.

tumblr_mgqi7gjEDH1r4zr2vo1_r1_500.gif

tumblr_mixontfCqb1r4zr2vo2_r2_500.gif

tumblr_m9fsraQt2a1r4zr2vo1_500.gif

tumblr_mhctxvLB5l1r4zr2vo1_r1_500.gif

Jump to comments
Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Did I Study Physics?

In this hand-drawn animation, a college graduate explains why she chose her major—and what it taught her about herself.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Video

How Is Social Media Changing Journalism?

How new platforms are transforming radio, TV, print, and digital

Video

The Place Where Silent Movies Sing

How an antique, wind-powered pipe organ brings films to life

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In