This is the first time this has ever happened, right? The animated GIF has come a long way in the last few years—from primitive attention-getters on Geocities pages to lavish works of cinematic art. I wrote about how much I loved GIFs a couple years ago, and my affection for them has only increased with time.
This work on nytimes.com right now is part of a series of GIF portraits by Catherine Spangler to illustrate a piece about the Statue of Liberty by Alastair Macaulay. These are not GIFs of dogs falling into holes or crude Reddit animations. They're breezy moments featuring the Statue just standing there as the world moves around her—waves softly lapping, leaves rustling, a bird swooping by—and they're oddly more appropriate for the subject matter than a still photo. They're beautiful, and I hope to see more GIFs used like this in the future.
I remember back when I worked at Borders and the New York Times published their first-ever color photo on their front page. I sold a copy to a businesswoman who swore that this was the end of the Times. Color, apparently, was too unserious, and it meant the whole organization was heading for the toilet. I wonder what that lady thinks of this GIF.