Every other week, Flixel hosts an Instagram challenge, dubbed #TheFlixelProject, which is open to any and all who wish to partake. Upon announcing the theme, we give contestants one, full week to submit their cinemagraphs using a particular hashtag. The goal: to fuel creativity, and inspire one another to make beautiful visual stories using cinemagraphs. Interested in getting involved? Head over to Flixel’s Instagram page and keep an eye out for announcements.
Did somebody say, woof? Or meow? Or cock-a-doodle-do for that matter? If not, you really should have, because the last #TheFlixelProject Instagram contest revolved around our darling beloved, domesticated little buddies. You know, human’s best friend. Our creature companions. Those ambling mammals who’ll always have our back, through thick and thin and everything within: pets.
Yup, we called upon you, the Flixel community, to round up your furry, woolly, feathery—heck, scaley—pet pals and give them the attention they’ve always deserved. Needless to say, poring through each and every #TFPPetPals cinemagraph entry was a grueling and often laborious task. I mean, who’s got the time or the patience to spend an afternoon looking at pictures of really, really, ridiculously cute animals? Tough job over here at Flixel. Mhm. Your kindness and compassion would be greatly appreciated at this time.
In all seriousness, selecting a winner for this past #TheFlixelProject was no easy feat. But, the jury is no longer out on this one, because we’ve crowned our champion. Put your hands together for the #TFPPetPals Instagram contest victor, Martine Johnson!
Meet Martine, Winner of the Pet Pals Cinemagraph Contest
Hailing from Australia’s Gold Coast, Martine hasn’t always resided in the picturesque coastal city. Having grown up in the Far North of Queensland, she relocated to her now-hometown just over a decade ago. And for those of you unfamiliar with the geography of Australia, well, that’s no hop, skip and a jump away.
As an enterprising force in the Flixel community, Martine has long maintained a passion for the arts. With a background in advertising, she has amassed a great deal of experience in product photography and graphic design, but her foray into cinemagraphs didn’t come until she nurtured another hobby. “It wasn’t until I started photographing landscapes that photography and capturing the beauty in the world around me became a passion.” After the discovery was made and Martine grew enamoured by the photo arts, she simply couldn’t put the camera down. In her own words: “Once I start a project that I’m passionate about, I hate stopping until it’s finished.”
As the years went by, Martine further refined her craft, focusing on the natural landscapes that shape the world around us—something that became her chief creative outlet. But her attraction to the genre goes beyond the ebbs and flows of Earth’s topography. Whether it was the crack of dawn or the brink of nightfall, Martine regularly found herself gazing upon the sun, feasting her eyes on the smorgasbord of colour aplenty in the sky. Because, well, for a fan of polychromatic light, sunrises and sunsets will simply never disappoint.
“A moment is just that, a moment. You will never again get it back in exactly the same conditions.”
In terms of creativity and motivation, Martine’s approach largely derives from the tranquility of subconscious thought. Her strongest and most authentic ideas are formulated in the absence of distractions, like while taking a shower or lying awake in bed at night. But don’t get her wrong: Martine’s original idea may arise from latent thought, yes, but it’s only fully formed once she embraces the happenings and goings-on of the world around her. Somehow, her best work is the product of both mindfulness and peace of mind—a seemingly contrasting, and often untenable balance that most would find near-impossible to strike.
However, there is another source of inspiration that has been fuelling Martine’s creative spirit, especially as of late. A faction of artists and visual storytellers from all backgrounds, encouraging one another to go above and beyond their perceived abilities, as they congregate around the novelty of a brand new medium: the Flixel community. “I love seeing what others are doing with the technology of Cinemagraph Pro, and combining it with my other traditional digital passions. The sky’s the limit to what can be achieved, and I honestly can’t get enough of seeing the creative ways in which people are utilizing this technology.”
Interestingly enough, Martine’s fondness of cinemagraphs surfaced amid the backdrop of advertising. Seeing that imagery plays such an important role in marketing, she was instantly drawn to cinemagraphs, having experienced something of a knee-jerk reaction upon first glance. From her perspective, the contemporary advertising landscape is fraught with messages, posing a challenge to those trying to cut through the noise. And that’s precisely when her love affair began. “I was so excited by the concept of breathing life into still image,” she said, adding, “The stories you’re conveying through your imagery can be so much more powerful with a cinemagraph. I just love the impact and the potential that these moving images can have.”
“They say never to work with pets or children, but I love a challenge.”
To Martine, her enthusiasm for cinemagraphs stems from the fundamentals of photography, and the fleeting nature of everyday life. “There is something truly special about suspending a moment in time—it forces you to appreciate the beauty in the simple things. A moment is just that, a moment. You will never again get it back in exactly the same conditions.” Concerning her winning cinemagraph, Martine offered to pull the curtain back on how it came to be. “They say never to work with pets or children, but I love a challenge.”
And it was, indeed, a challenge. To get the shot, Martine endured a number of fruitless attempts. I mean, a dog is one thing, but adding a baby to that equation is another. What with the wriggling, squirming and, not to mention, the overpowering cuteness emanating from both subjects, somehow, someway, Martine made it work (she credits her perseverance). Ultimately, the final product was composed through a tried-and-true cinemagraph technique: by masking the footage with a raw, still image—depicting the very same scene—before using Cinemagraph Pro to construct a seamless loop.
These days, however, Martine isn’t catching as many sunrises and sunsets as she would like. Just recently, she welcomed a newborn baby girl to the world (the very one featured in the shot), so her camera roll is largely composed of baby portraits, laughter, and family moments. But let’s be honest: those are, undoubtedly, the best moments of them all.
As a prominent member of the Flixel community, we invited Martine to share some tips or pointers, intended for people who are interested in the cinemagraph medium. “My advice is to just start creating, [because] you only learn by doing,” she replied, before adding, “Push through and accept that your first couple might not be so great. Very soon, you will start seeing the world in perfect loops.”
What a world that is.
Check out more awesome cinemagraphs in the Flixel gallery, and keep your eyes peeled on our Instagram for the next round of #TheFlixelProject contest!