fbpx WHEN YOU THINK OF ME by Patrick Hubbard, MFA student in Photography and Image Making — PCA

WHEN YOU THINK OF ME by Patrick Hubbard, MFA student in Photography and Image Making

In this interview, Isabel Oroz, Certificate in Fine Arts student, interviews Patrick Hubbard, MFA in Photography and Image Making student, about a project using Artificial Intelligence and shown at the PCA galery during the “Unbodied Parties” exhibition last month. The topic was an opportunity for him to talk about a very personal experience in his life.

What was the assignment?

The assignment was to think about body and the different relationships around it. I instantly slid into the absence of a body. I focused on the separation felt by that absence.

How would you describe your work and how did you come up with the idea?

My research for my thesis is related to Artificial Intelligence and Image making. This innovation has progressed further this year. In April we saw one of the biggest innovations in AI image making ever, and it became for the first time accessible to people without computer knowledge, you did not need coding in order to do it. It helps you guide AI. I was doing research in this topic and decided to use it in this assignment that was actually about the body. The project that I decided to focus on the birth of my first child while I was here in Paris. The mother and I are not together, so I am dealing with this idea of not being a traditional father, being separate and absent from him. The project is focused on that internal reflection, that internal pain.

Why did you decide to use AI?

I am a traditionally trained photographer. I got my bachelors in Fine Arts in Photography and digital media, and I am studying towards a Masters. I am used to taking photos and creating images, but what I often end up exploring as an artist are these internal experiences, I am less interested in the outside world. With AI I felt like, for the first time, I could move past abstraction and into symbolism. I could actually start to express my internal world more literally, more graphically. Often, with my photography, I would be very abstract. I would literally try not to let you see the subject of the work, but wonder what it is and my intentions. Then, at the exact same time, with AI I felt like I could finally add a voice to the process, I could finally do it.

What is the creative process when using AI to create photos?

In AI, there are “Text to Image” generators. There are three major ones on the market today. “MidJourney” is the one I use. With these tools you have to use your language in order to guide AI. You have two ways to do it, one is very descriptive and then you have modifiers. You also have different types of modifiers: you can choose the style you want and then you can choose the quality, where coding could be helpful.

How does AI enrich your personal practice of photography?

It is giving me a voice that I did not have before in a lot of my work. All this time in school I have been developing my visual language and understanding it. AI allows me to bring these images to life and express almost my full self. It is helping me reach another level in my work.

Do you still feel that you are the image maker of what the AI produces?

Yes, I do. But it is taking a different form. The author himself is basically using borrowed ideas, borrowed things from the world in order to translate them down, write then down and to become the author of the work.

With AI, I have never been attached to being the maker, but to the idea of expression. I do that through interpretation. I get an image that comes out of AI and I find what I try to say, that is my creative process. I am less concerned about artist and technique and more about artist and idea.

How would you convince people that you can use technology to create art?

I think an artist is someone that uses multiple media or ways to communicate ideas, thoughts. If they can communicate clearly to an audience, they are an artist. I do not care what you used or did, if you communicate an idea you are an artist. I think AI is going to create a whole new group of people that have never been artists, never been trained in the fine arts, and they are going to come in and talk about things that we have never heard or thought about before. I am excited about it.