Joe Avery started posting portraits on his Instagram page in 2022, getting attention and gaining followers at a surprising pace. His pictures were aesthetically pleasing, rendered in black and white, and given captions that assumed the faces in the pictures were legitimately human except, oops. Turns out, they were all AI-generated. Richard Whiddington writes at Artnet News,
The problem, one Avery struggled to disclose to his 28,000 followers, was that he was creating the images using Midjourney, an A.I. image generator. Avery made the images by entering a text prompt into Midjourney and then fine-tuning them using Photoshop.”-Richard Whiddington, A Photographer Who Found Instagram Fame for His Striking Portraits Has Confessed His Images Were Actually A.I.-Generated (artnet.com)
Avery claimed the images were “human finished” despite his dependence on Midjourney, but beforehand, he had claimed the images were genuine photographs.
Whiddington adds at the end of his report,
Artist pushback is largely based on the fact these image generators are built by scraping millions of online artworks without consent or compensation.”
The scenario is a testament to the exquisite capacities of AI image generators like Midjourney, and how easy and tempting it can be to use them for dishonest purposes.