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THE FEMALE GAZE: “Girl Gaze #5: PhotoGurlz Exploring the Untamed Wilderness – AI Mediated Post-Photography” by Diana Nicholette Jeon

With AI encroaching ever deeper into the Adobe product line as well so many other aspects of our lives, it seemed time to survey how some photographers are using it, while acknowledging the topic is still controversial.

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
Diana Nicholette Jeon is one of the FRAMES’ regular contributors, and all views and opinions expressed in this article are her personal ones. At its editorial core, FRAMES is not particularly interested in presenting AI-generated work, but we treat this editorial piece as an important part of the ongoing discourse on the role of AI in today’s photographic landscape.

I’m deeply aware that this month’s edition may raise some eyebrows. Still, it seemed the right time to tackle the sometimes controversial issue of AI-Mediated Post-Phography and its relation to and impact on more traditional forms of photography.

Why now? Current image-generative models are so adept at creating pictures that look like photographs that the imagery fools many people. It is not just people who casually look at images; I’ve seen image posts on social media by curators and photographers who didn’t recognize that the image they were passing on was generated using AI.

Further, Adobe has now enveloped Firefly into its entire product line. Previously, AI worked behind the scenes in some Photoshop tools as an assist in older features like “Content Aware Fill” or “Select Sky.” But the newer, Generative AI-powered “Remove Tool” inside Photoshop and Lightroom is significantly better than the older Healing Tool – at everything – from removing a dust spot to patching larger areas we might not want encroaching upon an otherwise interesting image. The existence of Generative AI inside Photoshop has started to lure some photographers I know who were previously “haters” to experiment with using AI image generation in their own photographs. (I fully expected this to happen; the lure of the tool being right inside one’s current photo editor encourages it.)

Additionally, the gallery and museum world has become more active in accepting Post-Photographic AI works alongside Photography, with exhibitions mounted at multiple venues, including the California Museum of Photography, Grunwald Gallery at Indiana University, Candela Gallery, and the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts (which also included my AI series, CAKE, in a 6-woman exhibition this past March.) Ph21 gave a solo exhibition to Nancy Oliveri’s AI series, “Life on a Raft,” in January and has shown many AI images in their monthly photographic exhibitions in Prague and Barcelona. Gagosian showed Bennet Miller’s DALL-E work on both coasts. BBA Gallery in Berlin accepts AI submissions for its annual Art and Photo award calls. The Mira Mobile Prize added an AI category to its annual mobile photo award exhibition this year, as did the Prix de la Photographie, Paris, and Ballarat International Foto Biennale in 2023. Melbourne’s Photo 2024 International Photo Festival included AI work in its featured exhibitions. Sydney’s Head On Photo Fest dipped its toes into the water by showing four images incorporating AI as part of its 2023 festival offerings.

From the outset, and still now, I have contended that “Photo-Styled AI,” or as I more formally call it, AI-Mediated Post Photography, will ultimately become considered a subset of photography. I know that some people agree, some don’t care, and others are outraged by the thought. But we’ve tread these paths before, and they are well-worn. It started with the advent of photography and the contention that a machine made the work, while others were saying it would be the death of painting. But painting did not die; it adapted. It adapted so well that it never had to give up its Olympic Gold Medal as the most valuable art form in the art world. We’ve tread the same path over and over: Uelsmann’s darkroom double exposures were “not a photo,” Photoshop compositing was done “by a computer,” Iris and Inkjet prints were not “real” prints, phone cameras were, at best, “toys.” You don’t have to agree with my beliefs about this trajectory I see in front of us, as I don’t have to agree with yours. Neither of us will determine what it is called. Society as a whole will. Most people not in the photography world do not care how an image is made; if it looks like a photograph, they will call it a photograph.

Of course, I could be wrong. I frequently am. But we all have to wait and see how this all shakes out. Meanwhile, I’ll stick with calling mine “Post-Phography” because it fits that definition. Aesthetics of Photography has an article that gives a good overview of the term and its evolution. I want to clarify that for me, Generative AI should never be used in journalism or documentary photography. While I don’t believe photographs have ever been “truth” because they are always mediated through the person using the camera, they should be as close to truth as one can make them. AI Generation serves zero purpose in that. The invention of new worlds has no place there.

I believe in the importance of transparency, ethics, and integrity in art practice. I also highlight the need for open and honest dialogue between artists, organizations, and the broader public on issues related to art/photography and technology/AI. We should expect to engage in meaningful conversations that lead to better understanding and more ethical transparency about AI in art practice. AI work should be identified as such, no matter what box we or society choose to characterize it within.

That said, I look forward to the day when “post-photography” is just a part of photography, as digital compositing, inkjet prints, and scanned reproductive blow-ups of small alt processes now are, but once were not. I see the writing on the wall, from acceptance in competitions to museum and gallery exhibitions. Should that be the path? Yes, or maybe no, depending on your view of broadened boundaries in photography. But all the viewable road signs point to AI’s inclusion in the field over the next few years.

I thought about it but decided against incorporating information about how AI image generation works here because there are so many people loudly proclaiming a couple of wrong-headed misperceptions. But that would have overtaken the real point of the article, which is why now and what is being made. I will only say this: AI platforms do not do real-time internet searches for imagery that matches the user prompt and incorporate it within the generated imagery. They also don’t do “collages” using bits and pieces of images to make new ones. But rather than leave some readers pondering, “Well, how does it work?” This article gives a detailed but easy-to-understand explanation of how various kinds of AI generators work. I recommend reading it whether or not you intend to do any work using AI. Knowledge is power, after all, and AI is so integrated into every facet of life now that we all need to learn how it works, its shortcomings and dangers, and how we might use AI or be subject to its use in art – and other life activities. We also need to know how it works to be better media consumers. Deep fakes and disinformation have become more accessible to those with nefarious goals as these tools continually and rapidly improve. That ship is not sailing back into the port. We are responsible for making sure we can identify the imagery that is being pushed at us.

Diana Nicholette Jeon – No. 15, from the series, CAKE

It’s been two years since Shane McGeehan introduced me to AI. In that time, I have doggedly pursued my own vision for using the tool, which is to do work that looks like something I would make as a photograph or mixed media photo work, to bend the AI to MY will, rather than simply nay, lamely accepting whatever it spits out and being happy with that. I have a pretty formalized process of testing each new platform or version release that familiarizes me with what each version is capable of, what it “knows,” and how to prompt it with language to get work that looks and feels like mine. Even though I use minimal language in my prompts, preferring to use my images as the guide for what I will get, I do this before I ever input an image of mine as a prompt. Having that data helps me understand what I need to give it as an image based on how it reacted to my language prompting efforts, and it also helps if I need to tweak image-to-image prompts with some language to get it on the path I want. This process works for me and how I work. Others take an approach 180 degrees differently, preferring the randomness and surprises and using them as factors in their process. I also never use an image as generated; I put it through the same post-production processes as I would with a photograph I have taken. For my work, post-production is the most essential step; it is where I transform what the camera was able to capture into what I envisioned when I pressed the shutter. Also, I often composite AI pieces with my photos or multiple AI images generated from my imagery to make a new image.

A common thread I’ve noticed among many, though not all, photographers who delve into AI imagery, including myself, is the desire to work with personal imagery. In early fall 2022, Midjourney and Dalle allowed uploading one’s own imagery to use in addition to words. By late Fall 2022, they released image-to-image blending as a method of prompting without requiring the addition of text. (This is my preferred way of working with it and how I almost always use it.)

For me, AI is natural for those working with composites because I can use AI to generate items or environments I don’t have access to or that never existed except in my imagination. I don’t have a budget to travel or space and money for props and costumes. AI helps greatly with constraints I might face in making the work I want. It’s like an extension of how I create compositions of non-existent scenarios in Photoshop. It’s one more way to give birth to my ideas, another tool in the box, rather than a replacement for my photography.

To further explore how women photographers were working with AI, I went looking for particular kinds of work, such as post-photographic type work, rather than work that appeared to be a layered blending of imagery as one might do in Photoshop or other forms of art media. I missed out on women making excellent work because of that limitation, but I stuck to it because I wanted to stay within the work styles that usually appear in the FRAMES IG feed or its Facebook group. I was also hampered by the fact that there is far too much imagery tagged with #AI on the internet. Varied attempts to search Instagram for specific work styles only led me to people making what I would term “copycat works” – works that so directly reference the original photographer’s style that they just screamed, “I’m a knock-off purse!” Nothing original, no spark of the maker, just copied styles. Some of it is gorgeous, but I was looking for original thoughts, not a figurative AI Xerox machine. The other thing that the search brought was zillions of really annoying fake images of male fantasy 52DDDD-breasted women with 10-inch waists wearing teeny bikinis. Sigh. Not a lot of art there, either. After spending a few weeks looking and considering, I approached several women who are photographers who also use AI. Due to my unsuccessful search, I only found one person whose work I did not know of beforehand. That was a bummer for me, not because I feel anything negative toward these women or their work; it is fantastic. Instead, it was because I was hopeful that I might expand my mental catalog of women who did both and be able to show you a few more.

The featured photographers are Fran Forman, Micol Hebron, Hayley Lohn, Roz Liebowitz, Nancy Oliveri, Amy Selwyn, Nino Trentinella, and Melanie Walker. I asked them if I could show a particular image and for them to reply to specific questions about the selected work and their more extensive views of AI within their photographic practice.

I decided to start from the end of the alphabet and work backward this time to give some “turn about is fair play” time to those at the far end of the A to Z road trip. Get a beverage and buckle in to discover what these women are doing with AI.

Melanie Walker – Puppet Show

I’ve known Melanie Walker for several years; we first met via Facebook. We have attended online workshops together, consulted each other for feedback on our projects, and started working with Midjourney at roughly the same time, so we have learned in the trenches of the AI world together. I’m a massive fan of her work. The first The Female Gaze article, which dates back to December 2021, was an interview I did with Melanie.

Walker started using AI in the summer of 2022 out of curiosity. She rarely uses words as prompts and has been driven by curiosity about “what happens if…” She worked mainly with Dall-e, using her images as prompts, usually without words. She says, “I have been interested and entertained by how it reprocesses and reinterprets my images.

About this image, Walker said, “When I first started playing around with AI, my first instinct was to think of puppetry… It’s something I have always considered with regard to technology. Who pulls the strings? Who is the puppet and who is the puppeteer…I guess it’s a question that can relate to a lot of things in our lives but seems particularly relevant with regard to AI…I have made puppets in my work and decided to use my puppet images as prompts for some of these experiments. I had done a self-portrait in the yard wearing a house for a head and holding a marionette that I had made. No words were used in the prompt, so this is a sort of a parallel image.

Walker’s AI images often look like installation works because she frequently creates photographic installations. They have the feel of her other work.

Nino Trentinella – Circus Cat

Nino Trentinella and I graduated from the same MFA program at UMBC in Maryland. Begun in 1993, it was one of if not the first in the nation to focus on nascent digital tools and intermedia. (I’m sad to say that in late 2002, when I was applying to grad programs, it was STILL one of the nation’s only programs focused on digital media, though that changed rapidly over the following few years.) So, it is understandable that when AI imaging was released broadly to the general public in the summer of 2022, Trentinella would be one of the artists curious about it. Last year, Nino’s AI-generated images won first and second place at the annual Stereoscopic Society Exhibition and the Martin Wilsher Award “for all the outstanding work done with AI in stereoscopy and in raising the profile of stereoscopy in teaching work.”

Trentinella first tried AI in September 2022 when a friend suggested she try Nightcafe. After spending months exploring that program, she migrated to Midjourney.

Trentinella works mainly in series, so once she has an idea, she generates many images, selects the ones she most likes, and works them further in Photoshop, adding and subtracting elements to bring her idea to fruition. Generally, she begins by using her images as prompts, though she typically adds technical terms derived from her photography, film, and animation background. Trentinella commented, “I have been interested and entertained by how it reprocesses and reinterprets my images. Language becomes paramount in AI art, where (most often) text generates images. Being a ‘cat person’ is a play on words. When I create AI art exploring the theme of being a “cat person,” I’m not just crafting literal images but infusing them with personality, whimsy, and often a hint of the unexpected. That sets the stage for the AI to interpret and translate into visual form, allowing for playful interpretations and unexpected twists.

About the image shown here, Trentilnella said, “Despite my family’s wishes, I’ve never been a cat person. That was challenged when we adopted an indoor cat, which also affected my worldly travels. This image mirrors my whimsical quest to break free from labels, hinting at a longing for adventure.

Trentinella continually works with her whimsical AI imagery as she forges ahead and introduces new ways of incorporating technology into teaching art and photography.

Amy Selwyn – from the series The Last Jews of Liuh

I’ve gotten to know Amy Selwyn and her work predominantly because of my AI work. I had posted my interest in starting a small, closed Facebook group of women (and supportive men) because I was disenchanted with the salacious, utterly unreal ‘fantasy women’ being produced and posted by men in the existing AI groups. However, I still wanted to have conversations with others using AI. Amy saw my post and asked if she could join, even though, at that time, she had only considered using it. Unfortunately, the group never really got off the ground, but fortunately, we stayed in contact. Her handmade book of AI imagery, The Last Jews of Liuh, is currently on view in Beyond the Photograph… Artificial Intelligence, Photorealism & (Other) Work That Looks Like a Photograph at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts.

Selwyn began using DALL-E in May 2023. Her dive into the AI rabbit hole was inspired by the words of Louise Bourgeois, who said, “If your need is to refuse to abandon the past, you have to recreate it,” This was particularly important to Selwyn as she was interested in working on a project about family members who were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. She stated, “My then 14-year-old grandmother immigrated from Liuh to Hartford, CT, in 1911. I had no photographs, letters, or journals to help form the work.” She made that unknowable family history the basis of her AI exploration, fabricating more than 50 characters from Liuh in western Russia using AI. Now, Selwyn is creating contemporary descendants of those characters to examine the effects of assimilation and shifting cultural practices, one of which is the image I selected to show in this article. Selwyn continues to use DALL-E, but has added Midjourney to her toolkit. She also creates hybrid images using a combination of DALL-E and her lenticular work.

Selwyn said about the work I’ve shown here, “The character I’ve created, Cassandra,’ is a teenage girl coming of age during an era of shifting identity politics. Importantly, I avoided using any stereotypical features. I imagined her as the great-granddaughter of Jewish immigrants from Liuh. She is coming to terms with what it means to find her own gender/sexual preferences while discovering her sexuality and, increasingly, her ethnic and Jewish identity. The latter is especially problematic for her given that she has had almost no religious education and her parents are non-practicing Jews in an age of rising anti-Semitism. I chose to situate Cassandra in an urban environment resembling NYC. She is of a generation that needs to consider the impact of her heritage and ancestry on her identity.”

Selwyn has created a significant amount of her graduate program work using AI, including a handmade book for this project.

Nancy Oliveri – from the series The Devil’s Work

I met Nancy Oliveri via Facebook some months back, probably via an AI discussion on someone’s timeline. She uses a platform called Exactly. AI. I have never been able to get anything approaching the quality she gets in her imagery from training my own datasets at Exactly, so I am in awe of what she has produced using that platform. The Devil’s Work series will be on view in June in the Pride Exhibition at DAMA Gallery in Venturre.

Oliveri began experimenting with AI in 2023 after feeling threatened by its ethical concerns and offended by its hyperreal aesthetic. She had spent three decades working as a therapist, so she trusted her instinct that she needed to explore her fear of this technology further to understand better her feelings about what she disliked. To that end, Oliveri enrolled in a workshop to learn AI, which led her to embrace it as an art-making tool.

Oliveri stated, “I only use Exactly.AI, a UK start-up that allows users to create models based exclusively on their work. (It’s a limited data set.) I have an experimental approach to the prompts and consider the process closer to painting than photography because of the direct link between a thought and the images. I call my AI work ‘Neurograms.'”

Oliveri said about Vanitas, the image I selected, “It is a photo-based requiem made in response to environmental devastation. It serves as a reminder of the inevitability of death as well as our aggression against nature.”The work dates back to earlier works of hers. In 2012, she documented the Gowanus Canal, which she told me was once one of the most toxic waterways in the US. Later, she collected industrial debris, flowers, and dead animals found floating in the canal, then went back to her studio and used them to create still lifes in the tradition of Victorian post-mortem photography inspired by Dutch still life paintings from the 17th century.In 2023, I made the datasets mentioned above from my photo archives and used them to create a series I call ‘The Devil’s Work.’ The title references the backlash I faced when I embraced AI as part of my photographic practice but also refers to the destruction caused by industrial contamination.”

The image is haunting.

I met Haley Lohn via Zoom when she and I were presenters (along with Rashed Haq) at a 2023 panel discussion about AI held by The Griffin Museum. Lohn’s imagery is rooted in traditional photography and sophisticated algorithmic data analysis. I can’t quite comprehend how she does what she does with that latter, but the results of her efforts have garnered her shows at the United Nations and the 2023 PhotoVogue Festival.

Lohn began working creatively with AI in April 2021. As with many of us during the pandemic, she spent much time on the computer. The everyday realities of that method of communication led her to explore how technology was psychologically affecting people. Using the conceit of humans having both a physical body and a virtual representation of themselves, she began using Runway Machine Learning. That was before image generation applications became accessible to most of us. Her process led her to create ‘data portraits’ in each individual’s diptychs. Lohn stated, “Generation Z and Millennials are the first to be born into an era of social media and big data. They have been able to try out different selves online, beyond their physical bodies and gender expressions. By applying each individual’s photos from their social media to this algorithm, I realized that each data portrait was unique, like a digital fingerprint.” She combined photography with algorithmic work to make diptychs that explore this identity chasm using one photographic portrait paired with the AI-compiled digital portrait, created using an algorithm to analyze each individual’s public data and generate new images. Her algorithmic process combines the latter into a grid pattern. Lohn calls the series born of these efforts Digital Skins. When Lohn started, text and image prompting was unavailable to the general public, so she created her own data sets and applied the algorithm. She still works that way today, stating, “I have only ever used this one particular algorithm created by NVIDIA that recreates faces. I enjoy misusing this algorithm to represent intangible or otherwise un-photographable ideas conceptually.

The diptych I have chosen to show here, Ira, was the first image Lohn created for this series. It portrays her then-roommate, Ira, in a quiet moment at home. Lohn said, “By choosing that portrait to represent Ira, I was inspired to commit to shooting the other people in the project in their homes with the same intimacy, reflecting the everyday moments of their lives.

In my opinion, Lohn made fantastic use of the conditions created by the pandemic by using her time to explore her ideas using this then-new technology. I am not the only one who feels this way, as Digital Skins was featured at the 2023 PhotoVogue Festival in Milan.

Roz Liebowitz – Untitled

I first encountered Roz Liebowitz some years ago via the Flak Photo group on Facebook. I knew her work as eerie photographs of dolls and photo collages. We both use Midjourney, but we could not be more different in how we use it. One of her AI works is currently on view at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts.

Liebowitz started using Midjourney in August 2022. She was drawn to it because of its shortcomings, “notably its inability to ‘understand’ metaphorical language and its tendency to offer very concrete images in relation to the prompt.” Considering her background as a children’s librarian and reading teacher, that makes perfect sense. In late Fall 2022, Midjourney released image-to-image blending as a method of prompting without requiring the addition of text. That quickly became Liebowitz’s favorite AI process and ultimately became her only AI process.

For Liebowitz, this is like a game; constraints are integral to yielding the surprises she seeks from AI creation, and she considers AI a partner in her creation process. (If you see her AI work in your Facebook feed, you might notice that she always labels them as being created by “Midjourney and I.” Liebowitz told me, “I’ve always worked with creative constraints in my writing and art; my AI work is no exception. My rules are simple: for the past year and more, I have used only Midjourney, only image blends, and no post-processing.” She counts on AI’s inability to comprehend the world, telling me, “I look for mistakes rather than perfection and will often push the image into a surreality that cracks open the gateway to the unconscious and shows a bit of the irrational to a frequently too rational world.

A typical workflow for Leibowitz is to start with an image from her archive, combined in a ‘blend’ with collected vernacular photos, allowing her to shape the direction of the imagery initially. That enables her to generate small sets of “odd pictures of the most mundane objects: shoes, hair, and chairs.

Liebowitz said about the image I selected for publication, “Like all my AI images, this one comes from a position of spontaneity and play leading to contemplation when brought from the unconscious to the conscious. This one was contemplating walls. The initial image I generated was soft-focused and dreamy and surprised me, so I decided to forge on, actively contemplating soft and dreamy against the stiff rigidity of a wall.

Liebowitz’s creations are quirky, puzzling, and worth spending time contemplating.

Micol Hebron – Men Playing the Field

I was introduced to Micol Hebron and her work a few weeks ago by a mutual friend who knew of my interest in finding photographers working in specific styles of AI for this article. Hebron is unabashedly feminist, and her work reflects her sociopolitical concerns. I’m a new but avid fan.

Hebron began casually experimenting with DALL-E in the spring of 2022. In the winter of 2023, she became more serious about using AI for her work. She has explored the better-known platforms, including Firefly, Dall-E, and Midjourney, but settled on the MI have explored Dall-E, Firefly, OpenAI, and Midjourney because of its features that allow users to have more direct control of the look and feel of images and variation of images and their subsequent iterations. Hebron eschews realism and replication in her AI work. She is not interested in creating images that could be done in other art media, as she views generative AI as a separate, stand-alone media. Of all the women whose work I selected for this article, Hebron’s work is the one that naturally embraces the failures and flaws of AI image generation to underscore her concept. Her work is deeply and profoundly thoughtful in constructing the basis for her work, which focuses on representations of women, feminism in contemporary culture, gender constructs, glitches and aberrations, epistemology, and ontology.

Hebron has a particular strategy for generating images, which she characterized this way: “I only use brief, vague text prompts and NEVER use image or stylistic references. I am specifically interested in leaving many of the creative ‘decisions’ up to the algorithm, as I am seeking to understand how machine learning and computer vision address matters of affect – how they determine and decipher aesthetic style, cultural nuance, conceptual or political context, emotional tone, etc. I often run hundreds of variations from a single prompt, repeatedly asking Midjourney to show me iterations of a single response to the initial prompt. The most iterations I have run for a single prompt is 2,300. The prompt for that series was ‘A Tampon Ad.'”

Hebron stated the following about the image I selected to show here: “This image is part of a series in which I sought to create a visual allegory for how I saw Midjourney users engaging with the platform. In various online groups for generative AI, I have seen people post a disconcerting amount of AI-generated images of young women and girls who are sexualized, objectified, romanticized, and infantilized. These images seem to function like digital Lolitas – mouths red, wet, and open; faces cherubic, eyes wide and looking longingly at the viewer. The people who post them seem to be predominantly cis-hetero white men living out incel fantasies. It occurred to me that for many users, Midjourney and other generative AI platforms are a means of continuing to indulge in these soft – or hardcore pornographic representations of women and girls. I thought of this quote by Margaret Atwood: ‘Men are afraid that women will laugh at them, and women are afraid that men will kill them.’I wanted Midjourney to show a group of males playing with an adult female doll. I saw the ‘field’ as symbolic as well – connoting competition, the ‘field’ of sexual promiscuity (‘playing the field’), a genre or arena. I wanted a group of men and only one woman and for the woman to seem like an inanimate object. I did not ask for her lying on the ground, for footballs around, or for the men to look like they are in the Boy Scouts. I gave no stylistic direction other than for the image to be photographic. (it is not lost on me that one of the first image-generating platforms – Dall-E, is a homophone for ‘dolly’) I ran several iterations as I tried to find the correct wording for the prompt that would yield a visual allegory for this type of misogynistic manipulation of images of women in generative AI. I also ran prompts asking for a group of women laughing at a man, and the first results I received were images of a group of women surrounding a man on the ground who is very bloody – but laughing.”

I don’t need to emphasize how much I love how Hebron uses her work to comment on representations of women. After all, I write this monthly feature at FRAMES celebrating women, and anyone who knows my work or views can see that her ideas resonate strongly with me.

Fran Forman – Girl With Red Headband At Window from the series State of Anxiety

I met Fran Forman some years ago on Facebook, but I have not yet had the good fortune to meet her in person. One day soon, I hope. Forman is predominantly known for her photo composites, which she called ‘light paintings.’ She now incorporates AI into her composite work. Forman’s composites, including some using AI, were shown in a solo exhibition at BBA Gallery in Berlin recently, and she has a work in the current exhibition considering AI work at the Rhode Island Center for Photography.

Initially skeptical about AI, Forman lept into the fray in January 2023 by using Midjourney to create a series about Paris after World War II that she had imagined. Over six months, she produced over 100 images and made a six-minute video from them. After trying out additional AI platforms, she now gravitates to Leonardo AI for specific types of imagery. In prompting, she uses a particular location, a slightly detailed description of the environment, the look and gesture of a figure, the angles and palette, and many references to previous images and characters created in MJ. Forman told me, “Many reworkings and alterations get made to my original prompts, and I use images I’ve shot as references.” Ultimately, the image Forman creates bears little connection to her starting point, as she makes numerous iterations of her prompt, evolving it within AI and then altering it in post-production using software such as Photoshop. She sometimes works by going back and forth between photo editing applications and AI.

Forman stated about the image I selected for FRAMES, “Both younger and older women are currently experiencing a state of anxiety in our culture these days. I attempt to create the look of concern and fear that characterizes every gender under threat. These sentiments are further suggested by the distressed room and barren landscape outside.” This image is part of a new series she is working on, State of Anxiety. It comments on female angst and threats to our autonomy imposed mainly through men in power, which is sometimes conceived and planned from behind the curtain of anonymity.

I applaud this effort to bring greater attention to this issue, and I hope their Wizard of Oz act stupendously fails because of the power of women’s voices rising together.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and that it has perhaps piqued your curiosity about AI’s role in Photography. A huge thank you to all the artists who lent me their work and time for this feature.

Every year we release four quarterly printed editions of FRAMES Magazine. Each issue contains 112 pages printed on the highest quality 140g uncoated paper. You receive the magazine delivered straight to your doorstep. We feature both established and emerging photographers of different genres. We pay very close attention to new, visually striking, thought-provoking imagery, while respecting the long-lasting tradition of photography in its purest incarnation. Learn more >>>


Comments (2):

  1. Lynn Bianchi

    May 28, 2024 at 20:53

    I
    Loved this article and all
    Of the images shown by the different artists. The image by Hebron made me laugh out loud. Thank you for such an in depth interesting article about the use of AI as an art tool.

    Reply

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