I’ve always thought the moving pictures of the wizarding world are one of the most interesting differences between Muggle and Wizard lives. When you think about it, we take pictures to capture a moment in time. Even our moving pictures taken on film or SD card have limitations. They are still a specific moment and the people within them can’t branch out of what has been recorded.
Wizard pictures are taken for the same reasons, I would imagine, to preserve memories, but they have the added benefit of being interactive. If you were missing someone and chose to keep their picture close, it wouldn’t just be a glance and a reminder of them, but rather a comfort of a conversation. To be able to talk to someone who is gone forever, to hear their voice and see their mannerisms, there is something completely priceless about that. If you were on a trip and weren’t able to see friends and family for a while, you could have pictures near to talk to.
Of course, a picture can never really take the place of someone, this much is made clear to us even in the wizarding world. Although seeing a lost loved one smiling and waving at you from a photograph may be comforting, it doesn’t make that person alive again. Pictures and portraits can carry shadows of the personality and knowledge of an individual, but nothing can really duplicate life.
I wonder if moving pictures could parallel the media dependency that we have in Muggle society? Social media and texting are beginning to replace face to face interaction, does the same happen with Wizards? Do they communicate through pictures instead of in person or have they figured out what our society hasn’t quite yet? Virtual life is much different then reality.
In the end, whether a picture moves or is stationary, it will always serve as a reminder of another time and place where it was taken.