A famous “photographer” collected approx 30,000 followers on Instagram He admitted that his photos were actually created by artificial intelligence (Amnesty International). Jos Avery has been posting his amazing “photos” since October of last year and tricking his audience into thinking they are real photos, even describing the camera equipment he uses.
Avery explains Ars Technica Who set out to “scam people”: “Do people wearing makeup in photos reveal it? What about plastic surgery? Every commercial fashion shoot contains a heavy dose of photoshop, including replacing celebrity bodies on magazine covers.”
Avery’s Instagram followers are delighted with her work and are full of compliments. “Thank you for the inspiration you give us every day with your amazing photos,” wrote a real photographer. “I stop, look carefully, think, and, without a doubt, learn from every post you share.” Rather than admit her work is unoriginal, Avery says, “Thank you so much for taking the time to share it. It means a lot to me.”
Although Avery claims to use professional cameras, the photos on her Instagram page were actually generated by a photo-capable AI program called Midjourney.
Avery ostensibly responds to almost every comment he receives, thanking the person for praising him and ignoring the small minority who suggest he is an AI. His ambiguity extends to an outright denial of the truth when asked about specific details such as “What camera are you using?” Answer: “I shoot with Nikon cameras.”
He even hints that he can “record the process” of his workflow when asked how to achieve bokeh, the effect seen in photos where the background is blurred to make anything in the foreground stand out.
“I often compose and use back blur,” Avery says. “I have to record the operation one of these days.” His follower replied, “You’re so sweet. You’re one of those rare people who actually takes the time to respond to every comment.”
Avery also spoofs her hashtags, filled with photographic hashtags like #blackandwhitephotography, #portrait, #portraitphotography, and so on. He sometimes uses #AI or #digitalart, but they get lost in the sea of hashtags used by real photographers.
methodology of this trick
Avery admitted his infidelity to Ars Technica: “Probably more than 95% of fans don’t realize it. I’d like to admit it,” he says. “Honestly, I’m conflicted,” Avery says. “My original goal was to trick people into showing AI and then writing an article about it. But now it’s an artistic outlet. My perspective has changed.”
Although Avery doesn’t say it outright, there are indications that this photo is one that was taken in Ukraine. Avery explains that for her nearly 180 posts, she’s generated a whopping 14,000 photos of Midjourney.
“I create about 85 images to get to a usable image and cancel probably at least as many failed starts,” he says.
After getting a synthetic image he could work with, Avery edited the image in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, which he says still makes him an artist. “It takes an enormous amount of effort to take AI-generated assets and create something that looks like it was taken by a human photographer,” he says. “The creative process is still very much in the hands of the artist or photographer, not the computer.”
Along with each fake, Avery gives each character a name (such as “Strong Sarah” or “Tough Richard”) and writes a (clearly marked) fictional story to accompany it. Of a portrait of a woman in a snow-covered hood, Avery wrote: “Emma looked out the window, fascinated by the snow-covered street. Winter brought a quiet, serene beauty to town, and I reveled in it.” Continuing with a longer story full of melodrama.
The stories seem to captivate the viewers, who enjoy them enough to like them. This was a double-edged sword for Avery, since most of his new followers believed the photos were real photos, and he wasn’t sure how to reveal that fact. He was caught between sudden Instagram fame and knowing that telling the truth could lead to her downfall.
A trick on the Avery scale may only be possible until the audience becomes more aware of the photomontage technique. Meanwhile, social media pitted creators against each other for likes and followers, which makes AI-powered media attractive.
“Honestly, I’m not quite sure how to proceed,” Avery told Ars Technica in January, as his following grew. “The response from Instagram surprised me. It’s not easy to get 15,000 followers. The final art product resonates with people.”
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