Filtered for post-photography

15.25, Friday 14 Jul 2023


Not one but two cameras that peer into adjacent reality by using AI.

Quantum Mirror is an app for Sony cameras. Photos are sent to the DALL.E AI as I take them, which dreams up new versions of them, revealing a world-that-might-have-been.

Pictures are almost the same but not quite. Lettering doesn’t quite work. Townscapes are more generically framed.

Paragraphica is a context-to-image camera that uses location data and artificial intelligence to visualize a “photo” of a specific place and moment.

  • The viewfinder shows a text description of what you’re pointing the physical camera at
  • Seen and unseen context is added: it’s sunny; there’s a park nearby
  • Using a text-to-image AI, the camera converts the paragraph into a “photo”.

It’s a gorgeous instrument.


Make Your Renders Unnecessarily Complicated (YouTube).

Somebody has built a simulated camera with simulated optics in the 3D software Blender, and used it to take real photos of simulated things.

Here’s the gallery. There’s lens distortion! Bokeh!


Art history: 5 Unintended Consequences of Photography in the Saturday Evening Post (2022).


  1. Photography Decided Elections

  2. Photography Created Compassion

  3. Photography Liberated Art

  4. Photography Shaped How Americans Look

  5. Photography Gave Us an Appreciation of Time


Life in West America:

a post-photography project delving deep into the complexities of the American landscape: the land as a concept, as an ideal, and into the stories and identities of the people inhabiting this vast landscape.

There are 500 photos in the collection, of landscapes and people in this real/unreal place. Here’s the whole collection.

The photos are sun-bleached; the swimming pools Hockney-esque; the cars have fins. Subjects pose artlessly, gazing at the camera, lazily draping superfluous limbs and with torsos rippling into the surroundings.

It’s all AI generated, with an aesthetic that we won’t see for much longer - AI image synthesis will get better and we won’t see these surreal mechanic distortions for much longer.

The collection also acts as a time capsule, capturing a fleeting moment of generative technology.


The vibe remains.

So it’s an interesting test case, right, of how much a “photograph” can be twisted and best, and have the vibe of mid century Americana remain, somehow.

I think one of the most useful popularisations of the last couple of years has been vibe, via that vibe shift piece last year.

You can read Life in West America as an exercise in bending and smashing apart pixels, digesting and reconstituting the world through the shredder/Drexler assembler of AI transformer models, and showing that - despite it all - vibe is what endures. More fundamental than data, more fundamental than jpegs.

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