RESURRECTING LEGENDS: Artist shows us what icons taken too soon would have looked like today
A photographer used his genius to bring the biggest icons who died too early back to life, employing artificial intelligence to create uncanny portraits of Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Princess Diana, and Kurt Cobain among several others.
The eerily realistic gallery is the brainchild of Alper Yesiltas, a Turkey-based photographer who created the portraits for a passion project entitled, 'As If Nothing Happened.' The visual artist says he used artificial intelligence-based photo enhancer software along with a number of photo editing programs to create the pictures. Yesiltas noted that with the advancement of AI technology, "anything imaginable can be shown in reality."
"With the development of AI technology, I’ve been excited for a while, thinking that anything imaginable can be shown in reality," Yesiltas wrote about the project on Bored Panda. "When I started tinkering with technology, I saw what I could do and thought about what would make me the happiest. I wanted to see some of the people I missed again in front of me and that’s how this project emerged."
"The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me," the photographer continued. "The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks very realistic as if it was taken by a photographer." He said he was using various software programs to achieve the perfect end result. "The time it takes for me to create one fully finished image varies, but I would say it takes a while for an image to feel 'real' to me," he added.
It's important to note that all the celebrities featured in the project died at a young age and often in tragic circumstances.
Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris at the age of 36 after her Mercedes-Benz limo lost control while being pursued by paparazzi in the early hours of August 31, 1997.
Singer Amy Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning in London on July 23, 2011, at the age of 27.
Beatles frontman John Lennon was assassinated in a fatal shooting in New York City on December 8, 1980, at age 40.
Queen frontman Freddie Mercury succumbed to bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS at his London residence on November 24, 1991, aged 45.
Rap legend Tupak Shakur died from a hail of bullets in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas on September 13, 1996, aged just 25.
Acclaimed actor Heath Ledger died from an accidental drug overdose on January 22, 2008, at age 28.
Actor Paul Walker died in a car accident in Santa Clarita, California on November 30, 2013, at the age of 40.
Pop legend Michael Jackson succumbed to acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication at his Los Angeles home on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50.
"Behind this project lies the question of 'how would people look photo-realistically if some great events had not happened to them," Yesiltas explained. "There are 10 images so far in this project, I want to extend it but I want to do it in a selective way, so the process is a little bit slow for me. For future projects, there are various things I imagine about real life using AI technology. Like 'Life in 2050' and 'Alternate Museum,'" he added.