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'As If Nothing Happened' - AI project shows what celebs would look like if they were still alive

AI-modified images of Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson and Lady Diana as part of the 'As If Nothing Happened' series
AI-modified images of Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson and Lady Diana as part of the 'As If Nothing Happened' series   -   Copyright  Alper Yesiltas   -  
By Theo Farrant  with Alper Yesiltas

Ever wondered what the likes of Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger and Tupac Shakur would've looked like if they were still alive today? 

Well with the help of AI technology and advanced photo editing softwares, Turkey-based photographer and lawyer Alper Yesiltas has created a series of images which aim to bring some of pop culture's most famous icons back to life. 

The results are fascinating but heartbreaking. 

Alper Yesiltas
Modified images of Jimi Hendrix (L) and John Lennon (R) from 'As If Nothing Happened'Alper Yesiltas

For Yesiltas, the project started from his interest in technology and AI, and he figured he could use its capabilities to reimagine the appearance of celebrities that were taken from the world too soon.

"With the development of AI technology, I’ve been extremely excited for a while thinking that anything imaginable can be shown in reality at last," he told Euronews Culture. 

"When I started playing with the software I saw what I could do and instantly 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 ‘As If Nothing Happened’ emerged." 

Alper Yesiltas
Kurt Cobain reimagined in 'As If Nothing Happened'Alper Yesiltas
Alper Yesiltas
Freddie Mercury reimagined in 'As If Nothing Happened'Alper Yesiltas

To create the images, Yesiltas uses a variety of different softwares, including Remini, an AI photo enhancer and photo editing programmes such as VSCO and Lightroom.

"The most important part is making the image feel realistic. Catching that feeling of real takes a long time. But mostly as a fan, I know a lot about the person’s visual characteristics I’m working with," said Yesiltas.

He plans to continue expanding the project in the future.

"I plan to continue for a while and develop the project further. I may consider art galleries and NFTs when the project reaches the technical level I imagine." 

Alper Yesiltas
Amy Winehouse (L) and Diana, Princess of Wales (R) reimagined in 'As If Nothing Happened'Alper Yesiltas
Alper Yesiltas
Heath Ledger reimagined in 'As If Nothing Happened'Alper Yesiltas
Alper Yesiltas
Tupac Shakur (L) and Elvis Presley (R) reimagined in 'As If Nothing Happened'Alper Yesiltas

Video editor • Theo Farrant