Should Life Imitate AI? Master Photo Retoucher Jon Birdseye and Photographer Alison Blomgren Thinks So

There’s been nonstop discussion about AI in the media of late. How we will work with it and adapt to it remains to be determined, but we know it’s here to stay. The following question has to be asked: “If AI is going to imitate artists, what could happen when artists imitate AI?”

In response to this question, Jon Birdseye, acting as creative director and retoucher conceptualized a collaborative project with photographer Alison Katica Blomgren, set designer Gavin Derek, and hair & makeup artist Lindsey Watkins, to both influence and be influenced by AI. To take the output of the AI and recreate it photographically. To take back from the AI what the AI takes from artists.

First, the models photographed for this project were asked to submit 30–40 headshot selfies from their i-phones. These were added to the Lensa app, a phone-based image editing program, to generate AI avatars. The creative team worked together to choose the images they would recreate in the photo studio.

The results display the fascinating output derived from the AI, and they leave us baffled as to which is which.