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GIF Competition Gives Antique Imagery a Digital Age Update

These animated cultural heritage materials are decidedly un-stuffy.
Mark Beatty. Source material from Alexander Turnbull Library via DigitalNZ

From Victorian archives to the New York Public Library, an array of cultural heritage materials is remixed into fresh animated GIFs. Digital Public Library of America's "GIF IT UP" competition is a contest for beginners, as well as expert GIF-makers, with the purpose of bringing to life archival photos sourced from public domains.

The GIF tournament first began in 2014 and was created by the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). This year, it provided a huge online database of archives from several major libraries from the United States and around the world. The principle is simple: choose old images of ancient paintings, posters, or logos from public digital libraries Europeana, Trove, and DigitalNZ and breathe life into them. In order to attract a broad spectrum of creatives, DPL provides a tutorial with ideas for topics to get started, as well as a list of online tools to create your own GIF.


You can check out the winning entries on GIF IT UP Tumblr page. Check out the works below for a sampling of the competition's GIF oeuvre:

Find more from the reworked GIFs on the Tumblr, found here.


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