Back To The Future: Turkey photographer uses AI to resurrect celebrities who died young
Ever wondered what Bruce Lee or Heath Ledger would look like today, if they hadn’t passed away at an incredibly young age? Thanks to an Istanbul-based photographer who used an AI bot and created realistic photos of some of our most favourite celebrities, we have an idea.
Artificial Intelligence or AI being used to create art can be a pretty divisive subject. Well, recently we got to see how AI, when implemented in the right way, can be magnificent.
Alper Yesiltas, a lawyer and a photographer based out of Istanbul, Turkey used AI to create realistic portraits of some of our favourite and iconic celebrities, and what they would look like today, had they not died young.
Yesiltas released a set of 10 images as a part of his project titled “As If Nothing Happened.”
Posting to a blog, Yesiltas said:
“With the development of AI technology, I’ve been excited for a while, thinking that “anything imaginable can be shown in reality”. When I started tinkering with technology, I saw what I could do and thought about what would make me the happiest. I wanted to see some of the people I missed again in front of me and that’s how this project emerged.”
“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel “real” to me. The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks very realistic as if it was taken by a photographer.”
“I am using various software programs. The time it takes for me to create one fully finished image varies, but I would say it takes a while for an image to feel “real” to me.”
Each of the celebrities featured in the project died at a young age – often in tragic and sometimes in mysterious circumstances.
Princess Diana was killed in Paris at the age of 36 after the Mercedes-Benz she was riding in crashed while being pursued by paparazzi in the early hours of August 31, 1997.
Kurt Cobain was found dead on April 5, 1994 at his Seattle home after a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. He was 27 when he died.
Jimi Hendrix died of a drug overdose on September 18, 1970. He too, died at the age of 27.
Beatles singer John Lennon was fatally shot outside in New York City on December 8, 1980 at the age of 40.
Freddie Mercury died from bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS on November 24, 1991 at his home in London at the age of 45.
Michael Jackson, who began to alter his appearance in significant ways in the mid-1980s, died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication at his Los Angeles home on June 25, 2009 at the age of 50.
Elvis Presley, who suffered from heart troubles and had diabetes, died on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42.
Tupak Shakur was murdered when he was 25, in Las Vegas allegedly by a gang in a drive-by shooting, on September 13, 1996.
Actor Heath Ledger died as the result of an accidental drug overdose on January 22, 2008 at the age of 28.
Bruce Lee died on July 20, 1973, at the age of 32, in a rather freak incident caused by him taking the wrong medicines for a series of seizures and headaches. It is speculated that his medicines were switched or that he was given the wrong medicine.
Yesiltas wants to extend the “As If Nothing Happened” project, but in a very selective way, so the process is a little bit slow for me. He also intends to continue using the same AI bot that he developed, and come with images for projects like “Life in 2050” and “Alternate Museum.”
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