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Empathy evoking portraits created by AI

What is artificial and what is real? How much empathy can an image generated by a machine evoke?
The exhibition Not A Photograph invites you to find answers to these questions.
The fish seller from the weekly market, the student next door, the pensioner from the park and many more – the 22 portraits on display are as diverse as society itself, showing people of different origins, ages and professional groups. They capture the essence of the characters and tell unspoken personal stories.

Possibilities and boundaries of AI

Hyperrealistic, individual, human and authentic, but still non-existent. None of the portraits are photographs of a real person. How does this work?
The artist Arup J. Paul created these images using the latest generative AI technology and a data model created specifically for this purpose. Through empathy-evoking portraits, he would like to draw attention to the possibilities of generative AI and initiate a dialogue about the social effects of generative AI, especially in the visual field.
AI has become indispensable in a constantly evolving world. How do we want to deal with this? What risks and achievements does the use of generative AI bring with it?

Creating a portrait with AI

Not A Photograph also consciously questions the classic boundaries of the portrait genre. Unlike the classic creative process of a portrait – be it in painting or photography – the components of the creation situation are missing. There is no person to depict, there is no specific environment in which subject and artist/photographer are located and establish an interpersonal relationship. There is no camera, easel or paints. It is the data model that the artist relies on when letting the machine generate a portrait. It is the power of the machine that gives us an idea of the person depicted and that touches us emotionally. It is the artist who, alone or in a team, builds the data model in such a way that it is able to generate empathy in the viewer. Despite the lack of tools from the creative process of a classic portrait, the artist is given maximum creative freedom because he is at the center of this transformation process.

Find out more about the project #NotAPhotograph

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