12.5 2023-31.5 2024 OUTDOOR EXHIBITION / Craig Ames / Photographs of British Algae – AI Impressions, 2022

LOCATION :Outdoor exhibition at Vengatan/Artillerigatan MAP

Using one of the cutting-edge imaging technologies of the day, the English botanist and photographer, Anna Atkins, created the world’s first photobook and photographic-based record of botanical specimens. Celebrated for its historic significance and artistic merits, her ‘Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions’ (1843-1853), has gone on to inspire generations of artists and image-makers.

Today, artificial intelligence (AI) image generation is perhaps the most transformational imaging technology currently being developed and employed. Adopting Atkin’s philosophical approach to image-making, Ames utilises this rapidly evolving technology in order to create specimen exemplars of ‘AI impressions’.

Working from a broad sample of the organic specimens Atkins originally illustrated, Ames repurposed their Latin names and processed them through an AI image generator to create new visual forms. The resulting ‘photographic’ fabrications were labelled and catalogued to create a new visual taxonomy of simulated algae. The synthesized specimens intentionally distort the boundaries between the real and the artificial, highlighting the growing disconnect between the natural world and the simulated hyperreality that increasingly subsumes it.

Craig Ames is a British artist whose work explores contested spaces, expanded forms of evidence, simulation, and artificial intelligence imaging.  Encompassing these interconnected themes, he has a diverse practice and works with a range of media, including photography, AI imaging, text, and sourced, online material.  His interest in photography began when he trained to become an evidence photographer whilst serving as a combat soldier in the British Army.  These initial experiences served to develop his long-term fascination with the medium of photography.  More recently, his focus has shifted to exploring his interest in artificial intelligence and the monumental technical advancements and growing ethical concerns we are currently witnessing with the mainstream adoption of contemporary AI imaging algorithms.  

Craig Ames has a Masters Degree in Photography at The University of Sunderland. He is currently working as a Senior Lecturer in Photography and Deputy Programme Leader at the Northern Centre of Photography in the UK.  He is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).  He has exhibited internationally at galleries, museums and festivals such as The photographers Gallery, Foam Institute Amsterdam, Huis Marsaielle Museum for Photography, Belfast Exposed and Lishui Photography Festival, China and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland. His work is part of collections such as Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Huis Marseille: Museum of Photography, Amsterdam and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland.

This exhibition is part of Copenhagen Photo Festival where Craig Ames is showing all 64 AI impressions from this series.