Artificial intelligence has been making inroads in the field of photography, with photographers using it to generate images that look like they have been captured by a camera. But one photographer has recently admitted that he has been using AI to create portraits of people who do not exist.
Jos Avery, a photographer with over 30,000 followers on Instagram, has confessed to using AI to generate intimate black and white portraits of anonymous people. Avery had been vague about how he created these images, even claiming to use a Nikon D810 camera to capture them. But he admitted to using Midjourney, an AI program that generates portraits based on descriptions, and then making adjustments in Photoshop. Midjourney synthesizes images using millions of examples of artwork from various artists.
Avery’s goal, he said, was to deceive people with AI and then write an article about it. But the project turned into an artistic endeavor, and Avery said he is conflicted about it. He said that his vision has changed, and he now considers the project a work of art.
Avery explained that he generates thousands of images with Midjourney and then combines the best parts of multiple images. He said that the creative process still lies in the hands of the artist or photographer, not the computer. He generated 13,723 images, and he posted 160 images on Instagram.
Some of Avery’s followers have expressed disappointment and feel that they have been deceived. Avery has added a reference to AI in his Instagram bio and included the warning “fictional” in the descriptions of his photographs. However, some followers have still called for him to credit other photographers whose work he may have used in his AI-generated images.
Avery defended himself by saying that when people use makeup in photographs, they do not disclose it, and that fashion publications heavily rely on Photoshop, including body replacement on magazine covers.
While the use of AI in photography is not new, Avery’s case has sparked a conversation about the ethics of using AI to create images. Some argue that AI-generated images are no different from other forms of digital manipulation and that as long as the artist or photographer is transparent about their process, it is acceptable. Others argue that AI-generated images can be deceiving and that they blur the line between reality and fiction.
In any case, Avery’s confession highlights the growing role of AI in art and the need for greater transparency in the use of AI-generated images. As AI technology continues to advance, it will be interesting to see how it changes the way we create and consume art.