Vivienne Gucwa: Allowing your Visual Narratives to Come to Life with Flixel

Flixel was honoured to collaborate with the talented Vivienne Gucwa and offer her support in creating Flixels for the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris. Vivienne sat down with us to discuss the stories and intentions behind her hybrid creations.

What intrigued you about Cinemagraph images? 

I have wanted to explore different mediums of storytelling with my photography and my recent photo assignment in Paris gave me the incentive to challenge myself to finally start to shoot Cinemagraph images. The process of photography is such a cinematic experience for me. I tend to view every scene that I photograph as part of an ongoing series of narratives. When it comes to storytelling, Cinemagraph pictures allow the narratives to come to life in a compelling way that draws the viewer into the narratives in any given scene. When you view a living photo, photography becomes something more than just a still capture of a moment and transcends into its own art form.

“I wanted to capture the feeling of enjoying a moment like this which is possible in large part due to the Liberation of Paris.”

How did this project come about and what does the anniversary of the liberation of Paris mean to you?

 I was introduced to the French Tourism Board this past autumn. We had a series of conversations about my photography of cityscapes and landscapes and they approached me with the initial idea for the project in January. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris and they wanted to know if I would be interested in traveling to Paris to document the Paris of today which I would then contrast with the Paris of the 1940s during the Liberation.The 1940s time period is near and dear to my heart as my mother and her family were victims of World War II. They survived being held in labor and concentration camps for a number of years and after the war ended they were able to traverse Europe freely and eventually make their way over to the United States. I grew up hearing about The Liberation of Paris and the surrounding events that marked the end of World War II. The Liberation of Paris in particular meant so much to my mother because it was one of the most enduring symbols of the end of World War II and her family’s freedom. I was beyond thrilled to embark on this project.

“Nothing evokes the beauty of being in modern-day Paris in the springtime than an afternoon spent sitting on the banks of the Seine. I wanted to capture the feeling of enjoying a moment like this which is possible in large part due to the Liberation of Paris.”

Describe to us your experience shooting living photos in France?

The experience of shooting living photos in France was an interesting one. I really enjoyed interacting with the people I was including in my Cinemagraph photos. I found that the planning for the scenes was quite liberating in a way since I knew that certain movements and actions would come to life in the final Cinemagraph image.

“I wanted to convey a modern man in Paris who projects a more care-free confidence.”

Why do you think Cinemagraph images are a medium that artists should embrace and do you have any tips on the capture process?

Shooting Cinemagraph images requires thinking about scenes in a slightly different way. In some ways I would even say that shooting these living photos makes you more keenly aware of your environment even more so than shooting still imagery. The movement in Cinemagraph photos can convey a wealth of narratives that a still photograph cannot always convey immediately. There’s a great immediacy to the way that a Cinemagraph picture draws a viewer in to a scene that isn’t always prevalent with still photography.

“Going along with the theme of freedom and how freedom feels in the Paris of today, this Cinemagraph image was meant to display how sweet it is to enjoy a gorgeous afternoon along the Seine in Paris with the technology that keeps us connected to our loved ones.”

What gear did you use to capture these living photos?

I used a Sony A7R with the Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 lens, a Format HiTech Variable ND Filter, and my tripod which is the Brian Evolution 2 Tripod made by 3 Legged Thing.

Thank you Vivienne for taking the time to speak with us! Check out her Flixel profile at @viviennegucwa. Also please visit her blog at


  1. Really enjoyed reading your approach to the Cinemagraph photos,Vivienne Gucwa, its something that always wanted to do too, and now with the Flixel CinemagraphPro its so fast to do it ;)

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