Romain Laurent’s Quirky Looped GIF Portraits

By Jared T. Miller

Mar 2, 2014 6:35am
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Portrait of Menno Kluin. (Credit: Romain Laurent)

When searching for a new photography project, it helps to pick a subject that moves you.

But for Romain Laurent, it also helps to pick a subject that moves.

Late last year, Laurent, an advertising photographer, was looking for a new project that would break his cycle of careful, deliberate work in favor of a more exciting, unpredictable style. He challenged himself to create one GIF portrait per week — in the Cinemagram style becoming popular online — and found that they complemented his general approach to photography.

“In all my work I like to play with people’s ‘wait, what?’ moment,” Laurent told Wired magazine in December. “I feel this is a perfect medium to be silly.”

The inherent humor of his “One Loop Portrait A Week” GIF portraits aren’t always planned — in fact, part of the impetus behind the project was to inject some improvisation and spontaneity into his otherwise demanding advertising and personal projects. Neither subject nor photographer necessarily knows what the end result of the portrait session will be.

He talks with the subject as he shoots and experiments with lighting until he lands on a worthwhile concept, and then sifts through his work to find a usable 3- to 5-second bit of footage to use for the final product.

The results are humorous, and Laurent said the captions to his portraits are inspired by “The Far Side” cartoonist Gary Larson. The project allows him to explore a new medium, he said, and add energy to his process.

“My idea with this project was to try to find that spark again,” Laurent told Wired. “The kind of creative rhythm or energy that you have when you’re younger.”

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