Virgo Haan likes to call himself a “future photography enthusiast”. It means that he is really into cinemagraphs, interactive photos, 3D photos, etc. Virgo is currently based in Tallinn, Estonia. He likes to challenge himself to get more and more advanced technically and is always looking for a so-called “movie magic” – something that we could never see with our naked eyes.

Portrait of Virgo Haan, © Schall & Schnabel
Portrait of Virgo Haan, © Schall & Schnabel

Virgo, do you think that „static“ photography is going to lose it’s significance in the future because everyone wants to consume moving images?

No, I don’t think so. Photography will be there forever, but it’s like when they invented television – radio didn’t die because of it. We just have more alternative possibilities as photographers to use different media. So photographers in the future can not only do photographs, videos & cinemagraphs, they can also use different techniques, such as 3D animation, 360° videos and Virtual Reality to include into their work.

But still, cinemagraphs will develop more and more in the future. Even marketing people are starting to realize the potential of it, and it’s perfect for advertising. It combines the best features from photography and videography. If you look at micro-videos on Instagram or Facebook, they are telling whole stories with a beginning, a middle and an ending. So you need to watch the whole video to understand it. But cinemagraphs are catching you directly, because you understand them as fast as photographs and at the same time, they have this certain movement, and this catches you as well. The human brain is programmed to look at everything that’s moving.

The development of cinemagraphs is happening in a time when the print market struggles and newspapers, publishers, etc. are transferring their services toward the internet. So maybe this is also the reason why cinemagraphs have such a huge potential…

Yes, certainly. But at the moment the creation of cinemagraphs is quite a very complicated process, and not many creators can do it, so that’s the reason why it’s not so widespread. If it get’s easier and easier to do cinemagraphs, then they will be more popular, I think. Cinemagraphs have already conquered Instagram & Facebook, but I think the future of cinemagraphs will be also happening in the private sector. People in the future will have more of those digital frames, which are not that popular at the moment.

It will also be seen more and more on the streets. I don’t know how it is in Germany, but in Estonia they have many digital displays inside of malls instead of paper advertisement walls; it’s much wiser to replace them with digital displays as well.

Are there other photographers or even cinemagraphers who have inspired you?

You may have already heard of the two photographers from NY who came up with the idea of cinemagraphs: Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck. Before I discovered their work, I was a regular photographer and back in 2007/08, when the economic situation was really bad. All the budgets were microscopic and I was thinking: that’s it, and I didn’t know what to do with photography anymore, until I read this article about cinemagraphs in 2011 – it inspired me to get back into photography. So yeah, those two were my biggest inspiration. But I get my inspiration from everywhere, not only from cinemagraphers and photographers. Mostly good movies.

How do you create your cinemagraphs?

I mix regular static photos with videos. That’s the reason why they appear like really high-quality photos. So, most parts of the image are a RAW photograph and then I add some video footage to it. But in the future, I hope that cameras will have this burst mode, so that you can have like RAW video footage and your cinemagraph can be composed with 24 RAW images per second. They are developing these types of cameras right now, so hopefully the equipment for creating cinemagraphs will become better and better in the upcoming years.

What kind of programs are you working with?

I combine different software for my work. There is  certain things that I need to do in After effects and Photoshop but mostly I use a program called Cinemagraph Pro. It’s special software made for cinemagraph work and it’s really easy to use. Some features from Photoshop and After Effects are combined in this program, so it makes it really easy to work with it. You understand it within an hour. If you are into simple cinemagraphs, it’s a good program to start with.

All Cinemagraphs: Virgo Haan

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