Variations and AI-made Art, Indecisions, and Curators…

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There’s a place (photography) where indecision is interesting, and this is what I’ll use today.

It’s not really about indecision, it’s “decision displacement”.

A photographer often takes many pictures of a scene, and then chooses one. We all know the contact sheets, with crosses for nays:

In the ending end, you get ONE portrait, ONE place: one photograph. It’s about “content curation”. You have to choose one.

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But of course, some artists just don’t. They opt “not to choose”, they show a few pictures.

The simple idea of showing a “contact sheet” was already in itself a variation game. It puts the audience in the position of the curator: “What would YOU choose?”. Something else, probably…

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I wrote an article somewhere about Depardon and Shore.

A/ The French photographer shows two pictures in a street in the city of Glasgow. A slightly different angle, different time of the day, different weather. You compare, you watch, and you wonder: why both? What do these picture offer? What do they show? What does the photographer want?

It’s a bit as if the photographer was talking to you. “You see this place? What should I do? This chimney and this crane, they’re cool, right?”.

B/ The American photographer says this too, but to himself: somewhere, there’s only one place from which he’d take a picture. And thus each of his photos are like “magnetic”, there’s a perfection in lines, light, energy…

So you see this picture, and not another one:

Stephen Shore. Image from Steel Town

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In the history of Arts, some artists like to offer variations too. They turn around things, like Monet with haystacks or Picasso with tomato plants.

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I’ve always loved pictures but I don’t know how to draw, thus I made plenty of photos, and I collected books – today I’m able to make cool images with prompts and Artificial Intelligence. The skills needed are all about words, how to use them and describe things to get pictures.

In this field, people are always seeking a kind of perfection. Crisp, detailed, perfect pictures. There is a huge catalog of examples at https://lexica.art/

There are programs that can “batch” pictures, so when I make castles, I make 1000 pictures, because styles are fun to explore. These are “combinations” of words and styles.

But with a single prompt, one can also makes plenty of images, and each one will be different from the others, like these towers:

The wind:

Robots:

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So well, there’s a tool for the spirit here.

When you work on a project (at school, in your company, etc), do you come up with one result? A few variations? Plenty of variations? Who’s the curator? You, in your head, or the client/student/customer? When is it a mistake?

I realized, when I began to work for other people, that my idea of showing plenty of things to the collaborator is a mistake. Then often don’t want to choose.

But sometimes you have to let them choose all the same! Because they don’t know what they want? Because they need to be disturbed by the fact they will HAVE TO choose?

And, you’ll be surprised by their choice…

Thanks for reading!

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You can watch Depardon’s book on YT:

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