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Photographer uses AI to create unique camera designs inspired by pop culture

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DALL-E 2 is an artificial intelligence program created by OpenAI that can create images and art from a natural language text description. For example, you can type ‘An astronaut riding a horse in a photorealistic style,’ and DALL-E 2 will create exactly what you typed, as crazy of a prompt as it may be.

DALL-E 2 is available only to beta testers, one of whom is photographer Mathieu Stern. We’ve seen plenty of content from Stern over the years, including videos about using a Canon 65mm F0.75 x-ray lens and creating ‘anthotype’ prints with beet juice. Stern loves strange and unusual cameras and lenses, so it makes sense that he’d put DALL-E 2 to work creating unique photo equipment.

Stern had DALL-E 2 create this C-3PO-inspired medium format camera

When using DALL-E 2, you provide your text input and wait about 10 seconds. After DALL-E 2 works its magic, you get 10 results. You can then select your favorite and adjust the description to get a more precise result. Before inputting camera descriptions, Stern had a bit of fun, having DALL-E 2 render ‘a photo of a tiger with a wig,’ ‘a sloth enjoying a day at the spa,’ and a ‘portrait of a cat pirate,’ among others. Stern, a massive Star Wars fan, also took the opportunity to make DALL-E render Yoda in other movies, like Mary Poppins and Batman.

The main attraction in Stern’s video below isn’t comical AI creations, although those are great, it’s the different camera designs he had DALL-E 2 render. Stern’s AI-created cameras include some inspired by popular franchises like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Back to the Future, and others based on more general topics such as superheroes, monsters, cartoons and more.

As you can see in the video, not every description produced a great camera. While there are many cool camera designs, the AI still has some limitations. Most of the time, DALL-E 2 does an excellent job, but it doesn’t always know precisely what you’re looking for, no matter how many ways you describe it.

If you want to see more photos of Stern’s creative AI-generated cameras, you can see them on his Instagram. If you’d like to try DALL-E 2 for yourself, you must sign up for the waitlist. To see more of Stern’s ‘weird’ videos, visit YouTube.


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