Co.Design

Cari Vander Yacht Turns Retro Snapshots Into Goofy Animated GIFs

"At a certain point, one must justify their creepy acquisition of other people’s pasts."

It always saddens me on trips to the flea market to see heaps of old photos thrown about a table—someone’s once precious memories traded for the price of a cheap cup of coffee. Cari Vander Yacht rescues these pictures and, rather than exploiting their trapped-in-amber nostalgia, re-animates them with newfound humor using the digital format of the moment: GIFs.

“At a certain point, one must justify their creepy acquisition of other people’s pasts,” Vander Yacht tells Co.Design. “Either you make up stories about how you’re related to the people in the pictures or you animate them.” So she turned the 50-year-old pictures she found at second-hand stores around her hometown of Portland, Oregon, into TGIMGIF (Thank God It’s Monday Graphic Interchange Format), a side project to her day job as an art director at Wieden+Kennedy’s Amsterdam office. “I’d make piles of the ones I thought were funny or had a possibility of funny,” Vander Yacht says, “and then I’d take them home and stare at them until they told me how they should be animated. This mostly manifested as me laughing goofily to myself staring at someone else’s photo.”

Once she decided on a winsome tableau, the rest was easy: making scans, then animating them frame by frame on the computer. In doing so, she lends new visual interest to banal images that arguably shouldn’t have been saved in the first place. Her solitary rule is to use only the elements already in the photo: “[They] didn’t really need anything else in them.” See more of Vander Yacht’s work here.

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