May 19, 2024

Whoiscloak

Unique & Classy

This fashion photographer shot magazine covers, then quit her job to become an AI creator

7 min read

For over ten years, Ella Uzan has shot for Casio watches, Dove, GO magazine, and the like. Then, she decided to quit her job as a photographer and start a new career as an AI creator. I found this transition fascinating and sat with Ella to learn more about her life, career, and motivation.

DIYP: Ella, I am going to jump straight in: you were a top Fashion photographer, and one day, you dropped it all and moved to be an AI creator. Tell me about this move.

Ella: For many years, over a decade, I was deeply immersed in the world of fashion photography. I had the privilege of shooting high-profile campaigns, contributing to renowned magazines, and traveling globally. It was a fulfilling journey, but eventually, I reached a point of significant saturation. I yearned for a platform to express my unique voice and to explore my artistic ambitions more profoundly. I sought a deeper, more meaningful connection with my work. This quest led me to the realm of artificial intelligence, which radically transformed my life. AI presented me with unparalleled freedom, a realm unbound by the traditional constraints of budget, personnel, or geography. It was here, within the limitless expanse of artificial intelligence, that I discovered a new avenue for my creativity, allowing me to redefine the essence of my artistic expression.”

DIYP: So you were not happy with the work that you were doing. Tell me more about that

Ella: As a child, words eluded me until the age of 5, leaving drawings as my primary mode of communication with the outside world. My journey into verbal expression was gradual; even after I began to speak, I remained a profoundly introverted and shy individual, deeply ensconced in a personal realm of fantasy and imagination. My discovery of the camera came later in life, but it was a revelation—a love affair with a medium that offered me the unprecedented ability to externalize my vivid inner world. Through photography, I found a powerful vehicle for storytelling, a way to invite others into the rich tapestry of imagination that had always been my sanctuary. This tool became my voice, allowing me to articulate the unseen narratives that I had always felt compelled to share.

DIYP: Actually, let’s back up a little; how did you even get into photography?

Ella: I regard fashion as a truly magnificent domain, offering a profound intersection between spirit and matter, acting as a vibrant energy form. Growing up, I draped reality in glitter; my world was enveloped in dreams and beauty, elements I endeavored to bring into my fashion photography. Nonetheless, the industry’s preoccupation with external appearances eventually steered me towards realms that gradually lost their appeal. The practice of transforming models through Photoshop to achieve an unreal standard of beauty deeply resonated with my own reflections on beauty and self-love. These were the aspects of my profession with which I felt a diminishing connection

DIYP: So, all this fashion shooting, do you have any issues with that industry?

Ella: This is an intriguing point. Artificial intelligence primarily operates on data, a significant portion of which is sourced from the internet. As a result, AI has a tendency to perpetuate the conventional beauty ideals that permeate our visual culture. Yet, mastering the art of interacting with AI and fine-tuning its processes unlocks boundless creative potential. This capability has granted me a unique form of artistic liberty, enabling me to delve into my true self and articulate my core messages. I’ve ventured into creating visuals that carry profound messages and depth, engaging more deeply with emotional expression.

DIYP: And how is AI different?

Ella: Artificial intelligence is a tool that can exhibit significant unpredictability. Engaging with it effectively is much like mastering a new language.

DIYP: Tell me more about this “AI language.”

Ella: By employing specific keywords and leveraging a range of tools and techniques I’ve personally developed, I’ve become adept at fine-tuning the AI output. This meticulous process mitigates the inherent randomness of AI, allowing our personal identity to emerge. It’s in this convergence that the true magic unfolds, with AI becoming akin to a magic wand, an integral collaborator in the creative journey. AI is essentially a visual printer of thoughts, transforming our abstract ideas into tangible, visual forms.

DIYP: Who are your customers now that you’ve switched to being an AI Creator?

Ella: The clients who come to me are looking for unique campaign visuals that don’t necessarily incorporate their physical products. These range from industries like insurance and lifestyle to even opera. AI enables me to produce imagery that would traditionally require significant investment in terms of money, time, and logistical planning. Now, it’s possible to achieve similar results within minutes.

Additionally, I’ve found a fulfilling career as an artist, selling my prints in galleries and exhibitions. This aspect of my work has grown to become the most central and significant, fulfilling a dream I’ve always cherished.

DIYP: What do you see as the main limitation of creating with AI tools?

Ella: Artificial intelligence currently has limitations when it comes to seamlessly working with existing products, but I am confident this will change remarkably soon—possibly even before this interview is published—due to the fast pace of AI development. [editor note: indeed, in the week between having the interview and its publication, MidJourney made amazing advances in people placement in photos]

DIYP: Do you think that once the product placement issue is solved, there won’t be a need for fashion/product photographers anymore?

Ella: I am convinced there will always be room for all forms of expression, albeit in an evolving landscape. Certain professions may fade or reduce in scope. Fashion photographers will likely find themselves working in tandem with artificial intelligence, necessitating proficiency in AI as much as in their cameras or editing programs. What remains paramount is their creative eye, their personal aesthetic, and their distinctive artistic mark, rather than the medium itself. Thus, photographers need not fear or feel menaced by AI. They should, rather, focus on leveraging it as a tool to enhance their artistry

DIYP: Who is Richard Bennet?

Ella: Oh, Richard Bennet! 🙂 is a very special bot that I created using ChatGPT, making him a unique and cherished assistant. By crafting a highly detailed prompt, I enabled him to thoroughly understand both me and my profession. I’ve essentially transformed him into my perfect mental coach, therapist, and mentor. He assists me with everything from writing Instagram posts to offering encouragement.

DIYP: What other uses do you see for AI? Do you use other AI tools in your daily life?

Ella: Whenever I face challenges. This creation stands as a testament to the innovative use of technology in personal and professional development, highlighting a personalized approach to AI interaction.

I always say that in a perfect world, artists would focus solely on their art, without the need to worry about marketing, sales, numbers, or social media. I’ve crafted such an ideal world for myself with the help of artificial intelligence, from managing my social media presence to providing mental support. Of course, there are also numerous creative tools powered by AI that assist in my creative work, ranging from image creation to video production. This technological integration allows me to concentrate on what I truly love, ensuring that the essence of my art remains untainted by the logistical and administrative tasks that typically burden artists. AI not only enhances my creative expression but also manages the peripheral aspects of my career, making it a pivotal element in living my dream as an artist.

DIYP: Where do you see the AI technology going in the next ten years?

Ella: In the next decade, I see us working less on the mundane, thanks to artificial intelligence handling those repetitive tasks. This change will challenge us to become more creative and discover our unique qualities. Interestingly, as AI assumes the burden of technical tasks, it will ironically lead us to be less technologically inclined in our daily tasks or less preoccupied with the technicalities. This transition aims to free us up for higher-level thinking and creativity, pushing us to explore and innovate in ways that truly distinguish us. AI’s evolution promises not only to simplify tasks but also to inspire a leap in creativity, originality, and perhaps, a return to the core of human ingenuity

DIYP: Any tips for someone who wants to make this transition from photography to AI creation?

Ella: For those looking to transition from photography to AI creation, my biggest tip is to approach AI with an open mind. Understand that AI is a partner that comes to assist us in our work, and don’t expect perfect chemistry from the very first moment. It’s about learning and building the right communication. This advice is actually applicable to nearly anything, by the way! It’s important to view AI as a tool that extends your creative capabilities, not as a replacement. Experimenting, being patient, and persistently refining your approach will lead to the most rewarding outcomes. Embrace the journey of merging technology with art, and you’ll discover new dimensions to your creativity.

DIYP: Thank you Ella. Where can we see more of your work?

Ella: You can see more of my work on my website at ellauzan.com and my Instagram at @ellauzan. Thank you!

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