Turkish photographer uses AI to resurrect celebrities who died young

Artificial intelligence or AI used to create art can be quite a controversial topic. Well, recently we got to see how beautiful AI, when implemented in the right way, can be.

Alper Yesiltas, a lawyer and photographer based in Istanbul, Turkey, used AI to create realistic portraits of some of our favorite and iconic celebrities, and what they would look like today if they hadn’t died young.

AI Generated Celebrities Who Died Young - Freddie Mercury

Yesiltas has released a set of 10 images as part of their project titled “As If Nothing Happened”.

Posting on a blog, Yesiltas said:

“With the development of AI technology, I was excited for a while, thinking that ‘everything imaginable can be shown in reality’. When I started tinkering with technology, I saw what I could do and thought about what would make me happiest. I wanted to see some of the people I missed in front of me again and that’s how this project was born.

He added:

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image ‘real’ for me. The moment I love the most is when I think the image in front of me looks very realistic like it was taken by a photographer.

“I use various software. The time it takes me to create a fully finished image varies, but I’d say it takes a while for an image to look “real” to me.

Each of the celebrities featured in the project died at a young age – often in tragic and sometimes mysterious circumstances.

AI Generated Celebrities Who Died Young - Princess Diana

Princess Diana was killed in Paris aged 36 after the Mercedes-Benz she was driving crashed while being chased by paparazzi in the early hours of August 31, 1997.

AI Generated Celebrities Who Died Young - Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain was found dead on April 5, 1994 at his home in Seattle after shooting himself in the head. He was 27 when he died.

AI Generated Celebrities Who Died Young - Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix died of a drug overdose on September 18, 1970. He, too, died at the age of 27.

AI Generated Celebrities Who Died Young - John Lennon

Beatles singer John Lennon was shot dead in New York on December 8, 1980 at the age of 40.

Freddie Mercury died of bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS on November 24, 1991 at his London home at the age of 45.

AI Generated Celebrities Who Died Young - John Lennon

Michael Jackson, who began to alter his appearance significantly in the mid-1980s, died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine poisoning at his Los Angeles home on June 25, 2009 at the age of 50.

AI Generated Celebrities Who Died Young - Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley, who suffered from heart trouble and diabetes, died on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42.

AI Generated Celebrities Who Died Young - Tupac

Tupak Shakur was murdered at the age of 25 in Las Vegas, allegedly by a gang in a drive-by shooting on September 13, 1996.

AI Generated Celebrities Who Died Young - Heath Ledger

Actor Heath Ledger died of an accidental drug overdose on January 22, 2008 at the age of 28.

AI Generated Celebrities Who Died Young - Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee died on July 20, 1973, at the age of 32, in a rather freak incident caused by taking the wrong medication for a series of seizures and headaches. It is assumed that his medication was switched or that he received the wrong medication.

Yesiltas wants to extend the project “As if nothing happened”, but in a very selective way, so the process is a bit slow for me. He also intends to continue using the same AI bot he developed and contribute images for projects such as “Life in 2050” and “Alternate Museum”.

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