I have to admit...I fell down the rabbit hole of AI art generation. I was sick for a while and spent that time playing with Midjourney. At first, I was horrified at the potential. It literally could do things that would take a me a year to plan for, photography-wise. Then again, it could do things I could never do photography-wise.
How does AI art fit into photography...or does it fit at all? Does it need to?
Here is what I learned in the last few months.
1. AI art helped me to better define my voice. Each time I had to accept or reject a render from the AI program I was able to analyze WHY I did or didn't like the image. My understanding of color palettes that are 'me' started to jump out more and more over time. I instinctively rejected bold colors and favored muted tones. Simple and peaceful compositions spoke to me, but busy and chaotic images did not. Here are a few examples of what I learned that I like. I think this will help me in my photography journey, especially editing.
2. I was forced to analyze another T in the road. Painting collided with photography in the late 1800s. Film photography collided with digital in the early 2000s. The invention of Photoshop by ILM birthed new ways to manipulate images, which also resulted in discussions on the ethics of editing. How does this AI shift the landscape? Yes, some jobs will become obsolete, while the value of others will be enhanced and appreciated more. AI may never be as empathetic and intuitive as humans, but AI may become a tool that allows a person to produce their vision at scale, something we couldn't do before. What if an artist or photographer could paint or photograph their vision and then use AI to create variations? The possibilities are endless. Vision and voice will always be inherent human traits. I am not afraid of being replaced, but I am keen to know how it will BEST serve people.
3. Kando opened my eyes to the way created worlds and special effects go hand-in-hand in entertainment. I was particularly fond of the class that explained how locations (real and imagined) could be shot and then transported to a sound stage elsewhere. Even the light could be intricately replicated! This made me wonder how still photography might merge with created worlds too.
Will we see a merging of technologies? Will photography and AI work together at some point? What are your thoughts?
I think making any kind of art, including AI art can make someone a better photographer. Anything that aids in creative thinking can help
AI art does feel a little scary to me at times as well, but people also have faked photography for various purposes since the 1800s. Hopefully there will be tools to help sort out our reality when needed