Photographer and lawyer Alper Yesiltas has been an early adopter of AI, using the technology to see how he can manipulate existing imagery. One of his series, As If Nothing Happened, generated images of deceased celebrities to see how they would have aged if they were still alive. After the success of his work, Yesiltas began thinking about how he could use his skills to help others. And that is where New Moments blossomed.
In this moving series, Yesiltas takes photos of lost loved ones that have been submitted to him and, using AI, creates a brand new, aged image. By creating this new image, Yesiltas hopes to bring comfort to those who have lost someone they love and create a new moment that they can carry forward.
For such intimate work, Yesiltas is not only using technology, but also closely collaborating with the families who have submitted the images. Obtaining a realistic result is crucial, and to do so, he carefully studies the individual's visual appearance. Of course, if the photo submitted is of a young child, he looks to the parent's features as well in order to produce an aged image. From there, he places the person in a scene that would reflect the desires of their families, which requires deep conversations.
“When I shared these photos with these people's family members, the reactions were some of my life's most uniquely fulfilling moments,” he shares with My Modern Met. “I've witnessed many moments when the ‘new moments' of lost loved ones were shown to their families for the first time. The happiness created by preserving small details has been shared with me extensively. I've had the opportunity to work on more than one person within some families. And for some individuals, I've produced multiple ‘new' moments.
“One of the reactions that has never left my mind, and that made me believe I had reached the level I aimed for and inspired me to undertake serious work in this field, was this: ‘When I look at your excellent work, I see her sisters, my husband, myself but most of all my beloved daughter. And indeed, as if nothing happened.'”
While Yesiltas acknowledges that there is some controversy around using AI to produce photorealistic images, and some may have their own feelings about creating this work of a deceased loved one, he stands by his work based on the close contact he has with these families. In fact, the entire project came about due to them, as Yesiltas began receiving requests and photos from his followers after his work with celebrities gained attention.
“I embarked on this journey based on the requests of people who follow my work. The reactions from people to these works and where I have arrived have led to different thoughts about my creations,” he confesses. “These works have become emotionally crafted ‘high technical' creations for me, while for people, they carry a ‘high emotional' significance. I find this distinction pleasing. The fact that there are people, including you, interested in learning my technique makes me feel like I am creating ‘art.' As technological capabilities advance, I want to approach the tiniest details and ‘moments' with even greater care.”
Yesiltas, who received permission from all of the families to feature these photos publicly, is now ready to start creating more work for those in need. Anyone who would like to participate in New Moments can reach out to him at [email protected].
New Moments is a moving AI series from lawyer and photographer Alper Yesiltas.
In the series, he appropriately ages images of lost loved ones that were submitted by his followers.
To get the most realistic result, Yesiltas has deep conversations with the families and even studies the features of relatives.
Using his AI skills to benefit others has changed Yesiltas' thoughts about his work.
He appreciates the beauty of helping others forge new memories with those they've lost.
And he's ready to start working with other families who would find comfort in this imagery.
Alper Yesiltas: Instagram