Woman smoking a cigarette, 1920
"In Woman Smoking a Cigarette Man Ray moves beyond photography as documentation to employ it as a means of creative expression.This tiny print was carefully mounted, signed and dated by the artist, indicating that he considered it a complete work of art. The image is daring both in its composition and content. The subject is pictured from an unusual vantage point, with the crown of her head at the center of the plate. Made at a time of social and legal conflict about equality for women - the same year the suffragettes won the right to vote in the United States - the photograph flouts convention by showing a woman smoking, her head thrown back in wild abandon" (Naef, Weston, 12).
As I see it, the photograph poses a few questions: 1) What defines art?, 2) Is the value of the art piece found in its aesthetics or in its conceptual premise (or perhaps in the signature)? and 3) Is art subjective or objective? I think there are a few 'lenses', through which we can observe and explore this photograph: the sculpture-like and symmetrical beauty of the subject, the historical background of the photograph, gender equality, etc. Thus, while it's not necessary for us to see in it something more than just a beautifully captured moment, I also think that the date, 1920, is as much a part of the work as the subject of the photograph.
Reference: Naef, Weston, In Focus: Man Ray: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum. 1998. The J. Paul Getty Museum.
Cinemagraphs are still photographs with just a certain part moving in a continuous loop. They are something between a photo and a video and are created using an editing software and video or animated footage. They are then stored in a .gif format, which allows them to be uploaded on the web. The term 'cinemagraph' was coined by New York City-based photographer Jamie Beck and Web designer Kevin Burg when they started making cinemagraphs at Fashion Week in New York in 2011 (Flock, 2011).
Beck and Web's website: Cinemagraphs.com
Reference: Flock, Elizabeth, "Cinemagraphs: What it looks like when a photo moves." . 07/12/2011. 03/07/2013. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/cinemagraphs-what-it-looks-like-when-a-photo-moves/2011/07/08/gIQAONez3H_blog.html>