Gifs have come a long way from being those annoying ads on porn sites that would crash your browser before you could look at the goods, to becoming the premier form of expression for creatives with carpal tunnel. We’ve told the world before how much we love gifs, which is why we are surprised that the fashion industry hasn’t caught up and started taking the art of infinite loops seriously. So, VICE Style got together with gif-adoring fashion photographer Josh Greet for a shoot to prove that repetitive moving pictures and street fashion can come together in perfect picture-wiggling harmony. We also asked Josh a few questions about gifs and their place in photography.
Eastie shirt and shorts, Stüssy hat, Gourmet shoes, Casio watch, Primark socks
VICE: Tell me a bit about this gif shoot. I mean, why gifs and not just regular photos?
Josh Greet: I feel the gif file is underrated, photographically. Everyone thinks everything should be hi-res. Gifs seem to be used for everything but serious photos. The 3D thing works great with them because you don't need glasses and there's something about the fast-paced swinging backwards that makes people stare at their screens for longer.
Gifs have been around forever, but they've enjoyed a kind of mini-renaissance lately because of Tumblr. Why in this day of hi-res videos do you think they have found popularity again? It's not like people are ditching their iPhones to play Snake on their old Nokia 3210s.
They were originally made because it took most people ages to watch videos or look at hi-res photos on their computers because the internet connections were too slow. From a technology point of view, there's no need for them any more. I think it's maybe to do with people being able to use gifs on social networking sites to express themselves in gifs instead of words.
Stüssy jacket, Asger Juel Larsen pants, Vans shoes, American Apparel hat; vintage Radio Days swimsuit, vintage fur coat; Nike jacket, American Apparel pants, adidas shoes, Primark socks
I guess maybe it's that thing where people start to fetishize dying or redundant technology—like we've seen in the last half-decade or so with VHS, Polaroids, and cassette tapes. So anyway, how did you get into the art of gif-making?
I originally got into it because of the Nishika N8000 camera, really. I found it while trawling through eBay and thought it looked strange because it has four lenses. I found a small Flickr group where people were stitching them together into gifs and that pretty much made me buy the camera straightaway. I didn't think the gifs that the people in the group were making were that great but I saw the potential to do some more interesting things. I used the camera for a year making gifs and not really thinking about it, but I'm taking it a lot more seriously lately.
So everything you shoot turns to gif?
Yeah, it's not that easy. It takes 35mm film and produces four images on that film which I scan and digitally overlay. It's taken a while to master, but I can turn them around pretty quick now.
Cassette Playa Jacket, Element shirt, Kush Skateboards T-shirt, Cottweiler track pants, Nasir Mazhar hat
Why do you think it works well for fashion, then?
I think using gifs in fashion is great, seeing as there's a lot of fashion across the web and it's not really taking advantage of the fact that we are viewing it on computers.
So you think it brings the shoots to life?
Yeah, definitely. It gives them depth. For example, if you're scrolling through a fashion blog with loads of stills, these moving pictures are really going to stand out.
Cassette Playa jacket, vintage dress, Etnies beanie, American Apparel tights
BAPE jacket, Converse shoes, American Apparel tights
Who are your favorite gif artists?
I look at places like this for gif inspiration, but I wouldn't really say I have a favorite gif artist. I'm a big fan of the original gifs used on the internet. If i was going to name one person that's really good at using the gif as a medium I would say Kim Asendorf.
So what do you think the future of gif'ing is going to look like?
In regards to my work, I'm going to get my gifs made into large holograms for a show I have in June. But on the internet I think it will evolve alongside memes and people trolling. In regards to fashion, you can already see it growing on the internet even with stock photography in online shops. It has already started with companies like Agent Provocateur showing off their stock using gifs.
So you think gifs are going to become an even bigger part of the fashion world?
I think there's scope for them to be used loads more in online fashion, yes. We may start seeing gifs displayed on screens in exhibitions and shops instead of prints. I can imagine advertising may be picking up on stuff like that.
Vintage top from Sick, Cottweiler shorts, Dr. Marten's boots, Victoria's Secret bra; Nike top, Cassette Playa shorts, Dr. Marten's boots, Cat socks
GIFS: JOSH GREET
STYLING: SAM VOULTERS
HAIR: YOSHITAKA MIYAZAKI
MAKE-UP: XABIER CELAYA
STYLIST'S ASSISTANTS: ALI CARMAN, MAEVE O'BRIEN
MODELS: ED & TANIEL AT STUDIO BOYO, MIMI, ZAINA
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