Getty Images Uses 873 Pictures to Tell One Amazing Story

AlmapBBDO's moving montage

Brazilian ad agency AlmapBBDO uses 873 stills, all from the archive of Getty Images, to tell the story of a life in this 60-second film. The pictures—of different people and locations—were culled from more than 5,000 images in Getty's archive and took six months to assemble into a coherent story line. As a marketing vehicle, the finished product, with the stills moving at a rate of 15 per second, is a tad dizzying, but ultimately succeeds as a novel way of conveying the scope of Getty's 38-million-image database. It's actually more affecting and powerful as a work of art. The ever-changing faces help make the story more universal than it might have been if told with a fixed group of actors. This technique makes the film, in effect, everybody's story, and even mimics the imperfect process of memory. (How often have you recalled people and places from the past, and then seen photographs of them looking different than you remembered?) Despite some fun and invigorating moments—the orgasmic zoom into an eye alight with fireworks is particularly inspired—there's a transcendent melancholy and deeper honesty to the piece that elevates it from most viral advertising fare. What strikes me most is the way it captures the fleeting nature of experience in each passing frame.