Moving Portraits of Hollywood Celebrities at the Sundance Film Festival

Photographer Victoria Will received both attention and praise last year for her gorgeous tintype photos of Hollywood celebrities at the Sundance Film Festival.

This year, Will returned to the festival on assignment for Esquire magazine, but instead of tintypes, Will was tasked with creating animated GIF portraits with a dash of movement — commonly referred to as cinemagraphs.

Esquire photo editor Elizabeth Griffin tells PetaPixel that the magazine decided to commission Will after seeing the response to her tintype portraits.

“It was a groundbreaking moment in photography in that it changed the way people thought about shooting celebrities and about photo coverage from festivals and awards shows,” Griffin tells PetaPixel. “And, further, it upped the ante on what websites (not print) should and could publish.”

For the cinemagraphs Will created this year, she first composed and directed clips captured as video. Small movements were then isolated from some of the clips to create the final moving portraits.

“Much like the tintypes, you only have so much control, and if you want to experiment and try a range of things and a bunch of set ups (and we did), it’s a risk, particularly when you’re dealing with celebrities who don’t have a ton of time (and PR people who are rushing you and looking at you like: WHAT are you making my client do?),” Griffin says.

Here are some of the portraits that were created:

Rebecca Hall

Spike Lee

Nick Kroll

Maya Rudolph

Michael C. Hall

John Krasinski

Jenny Slate

Ewan McGregor

Bryce Dallas Howard

Allison Janney

You can find a larger set of Victoria Will’s Sundance cinemagraphs in this Esquire article.

Image credits: All portraits by Victoria Will, courtesy Esquire