Famed Commerical Photographer Embraces AI: ‘There’s No Going Back’

AI Images
Tim Tadder’s AI generated images

Renowned commercial photographer Tim Tadder has ceased showing his photos on his Instagram page, instead posting a series of remarkable computer-generated AI images.

Tadder says he is “amazed by the endless possibilities” and since January 23 has created eye-popping AI images of everything from reimagined Matthew Brady photos to hip-hop Yoda living in New York City.

“There’s no going back, I’m fully convinced that I will use AI in my work and I will embrace it,” he tells his 76,000 Instagram followers.

“I’m excited to explore ways to use AI that I haven’t even imagined yet. The great thing about this journey is that it’s allowed me to push past my own limits and to truly imagine the potential of my own creativity.”

Tadder is a celebrated fine art photographer, well-known for his conceptual photos of people covered in thick, multi-colored paint.

But, he has recently discovered AI image generators, particularly Midjourney, which is capable of producing visually compelling, almost realistic pictures.

“I want to remind people that AI art is a new medium that has incredible power,” he writes. “It is something in of itself and as a contemporary artist, I feel I have to explore it and as a photographer that knows it’s going to destroy so many of my peers and friends, I have to understand it and share my journey.”

Tadder has received some blowback for his newfound obsession and addressed some of the criticisms that AI image synthesizers face.

“I am not in support of the impact AI art will have on the photography and creative industry. Small and big artists, and those who don’t adapt, will be affected negatively,” he writes. “The questions of copyright violation and artistic appropriation still persist.”

The above text accompanied a series of images entitled Yodas of NYC; an amusing set of images that sees Yoda donning 1980s hip-hop bling and posing in the streets of New York.

“These AI images were created using images from Star Wars, 80s hip hop photographers, XXL magazine, and Vibe magazine, among others. I think it’s unfair to the original photographers but under current laws, it’s considered artistic appropriation,” he says.

“I want to use this platform to raise questions and start a discussion on this topic. As an artist exploring AI, I want to emphasize that I am viewing it as a unique artistic medium. It takes some skill to create these images, but not as much as being an actual photographer. AI uses noise to analyze data and produce an interpretation of the prompts given.

“AI in art raises so many questions…I hate the idea of a machine creating for me, but…just like Photoshop, 3D, and other tools I use to help me put ideas into reality.”

AI Controversy

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been arguably the biggest photography story in town for the last 12 months. Last week, a synthesized image fooled judges and won a photography contest.

There has been much controversy over how these image synthesizer models were built; effectively the companies behind AI image generators did a huge scrape of the internet for the machine learning process.

Getty Images are suing Stability AI, the company behind Stable Diffusion, for a staggering $1.8 trillion after the photo agency accused it of stealing over 12 million of its copyrighted photos.

More of Tadder’s work can be found on his website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Image credits:Feature image courtesy of Tim Tadder.