Thursday, July 27th, 2023

Glamour Bulgaria shows us the way forward with their AI generated magazine cover

Cover image from Glamour magazine in Bulgaria

The July ’23 issue of Glamour in Bulgaria features Lisa Opie in a shocking pink Barbie inspired outfit. Except it’s a photo that was never taken. Instead it was generated in a machine.

As I understand it, Opie supplied a tonne of photos, which were used to train an AI and prompted to generate images. These were then vetted (check the hands – always check the hands) and tweaked before inclusion. 

A few thoughts…

  • it gives magazines a lot of flexibility over how they generate relevant images. No need to go to the hassle of booking models, photographers, costumes etc if it can all be done in a few hours in a computer
  • it will have a negative effect on models and photographers who will likely find their services needed less as AI improves
  • it could have a positive effect for those with AI and photoshop skills to prepare images for publication. A human is still needed to train AI models and review the output
  • models, agencies and publishers will change the way they contract and work together. Now Glamour has an AI model of Lisa Opie will they use the carbon based life form in future shoots, or fire up the AI model?
  • there’s going to be a market for “AI Whisperers” who train AI models on the likeness of people and generate images to order. Whether these are employed by agencies, publishers or the models themselves remains to be seen. I suspect a mix of all 3
  • AI savvy models are going to have far more control over their likeness if they are the ones able to generate images on demand
  • finally, models and photographers will still be needed, perhaps in different ways. In-person and “authentic” imagery will still be a driver for some aspects of branding and marketing

It’s easy to dismiss the images in this “first” as looking a little plastic and artificial. However, we’re still at the early stages of this evolution of Generative AI. They are going to improve, and we are going to learn more about how to tease the underlying models and tweak the results to get what we want.

Times are changing and we need to adapt if we’re going to stay relevant.

Headline image courtesy of Glamour Bulgaria.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.