Since last year, a group of artists have been using an AI image generator called Midjourney to create still photos of films that don’t exist. They call the trend “AI cinema.” We spoke to one of its practitioners, Julie Wieland, and asked her about her technique, which she calls “synthography,” for synthetic photography.
The origins of “AI cinema” as a still image art form
Last year, image synthesis models like DALL-E 2, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney began allowing anyone with a text description (called a “prompt”) to generate a still image in many different styles. The technique has been controversial among some artists, but other artists have embraced the new tools and run with them.
While anyone with a prompt can make an AI-generated image, it soon became clear that some people possessed a special talent for finessing these new AI tools to produce better content. As with painting or photography, the human creative spark is still necessary to produce notable results consistently.