Flixel hosts a weekly Instagram cinemagraph challenge that is open to all, called #TheFlixelProject. We announce new themes weekly and give participants one week to submit their cinemagraph using a hashtag. The goal: to fuel creativity, and inspire one another to make beautiful visual stories using cinemagraphs. To participate, head over to the Flixel Instagram where we announce the theme of the weekly challenge.
Last week’s #TheFlixelProject challenged creators to submit their best street cinemagraphs. Whether portrait, landscape, urban, or rural, we wanted to see how visual storytellers could capture the culture, hustle, views, and people on the streets. Brendan McGee from Chicago is the winner of the Street Cinemagraphs #TheFlixelProject challenge. Brendan created a cinemagraph in Millenium Park that froze urban life with a hint of spring. Read on to learn more about Brendan.
Meet Brendan McGee
Since his early days obsessing over nature photography, Brendan always looks for inspiration. Whether crawling through foliage, traveling to different parks around the United States, or navigating his way through concrete playgrounds, he loves to find and absorb the beauty offered in the world.
He especially finds many opportunities living in Chicago, where he works in digital marketing and advertising. “Each street offers a fresh perspective, new ways to view the architecture and life in the city, and ultimately, a new opportunity to tell a story.”
Receiving his first DSLR at the age of 16, Brendan didn’t quite realize the depth of photography until he got up close and personal with nature around him. When he began to breach the gap between “normal” and “special” photos, he realized how powerful photography could be. His passion for photography and visual storytelling eventually led him to cinematography. He’s created short films and music videos for his friends and family, which helped him hone his craft.
“Cinemagraphs have mesmerizing powers that allow you to bring your visions to life, in a whole new way.”
Brendan came across cinemagraphs through one of his colleagues who knew about Flixel. He was attracted to them because of his passionate background in photography and film, and saw potential for their use in advertising.
He shoots his cinemagraphs with a Nikon D5100, and always looks for opportunities to create a perfect loop. For his winning entry in the Street Cinemagraphs challenge, he knew he wanted to feature a subway, and came across beautiful tulips in Millennium Park that would become an integral part of his shot.
Creating street cinemagraphs can be challenging because the environment is often so busy. Brendan’s advice: keep exploring, and stay patient. “Finding subjects to both freeze frame and keep moving is limitless when you travel to a location that never stops moving,” he said. “More often than not, you will not get your desired effect your first time. But that’s the fun of it! Failure often opens the door to new ideas and creative opportunities.”