- Jos Avery, a software engineer and lawyer from Virginia, discovered the artificial intelligence program Midjourney last September, which generates unique and stunning images from brief text instructions.
- Avery started an Instagram account to house his Midjourney output and eventually populated it with beautiful but unreal portraits of people, initially misleading his followers about the origins of the images.
- Although Avery struggled to maintain the facade and had trouble sleeping at night, he eventually came clean about the origin of the images and now populates his account with both real photography and labeled images generated from Midjourney.
In today's world, technology has taken over almost every aspect of our lives, including art. One man, Jos Avery, from Virginia in the United States, discovered a new creative outlet last September: the artificial intelligence program Midjourney. This program generates unique and breathtaking images from brief text instructions, using a vast back catalog of images it has been “trained” on.
For Avery, this was liberating. It allowed him to create beautiful art without needing to tackle his own social anxieties. He became obsessed with the creative possibilities and wondered if he could make AI images that could pass for photographs. This led to his fateful experiment: He started an Instagram account to house his Midjourney output, without being entirely upfront about the origins of the images.
At first, not many people thought the images were photographs, but with some editing and manipulations, he eventually populated his Instagram feed with stunning and stark portraits of beautiful — but unreal — people. More users flocked to his feed, and more of them began to think the images were genuine. People would ask in the comments about his camera and lens equipment, and he would respond with misleading answers that suggested he had used his gear to create those specific images.
However, as his follower count grew, he struggled to maintain the facade. He eventually told the specialist website Ars Technica what he had done, added a mention of AI to his Instagram biography, and started giving honest answers to his followers. Although he received some abuse, the overall reaction was positive, and his Instagram account, now with almost 40,000 followers, is still growing.
Avery admits that Midjourney has been hugely beneficial, helping him discover a love for portrait photography. However, the downside is that he stays up all night creating images on Midjourney and struggles to sleep well. Despite this, he continues to populate his account with both real photography and labeled images generated from Midjourney, showcasing the fascinating blend of technology and creativity.