Photographer uses AI to imagine what historic icons would look like today

A photographer used artificial intelligence (AI) to imagine what historical figures like Al Capone, Benjamin Franklin and Sharon Tate would look like if they were born today.

Photographer Alper Yesiltaswho is based in Istanbul, Turkey, created the hyper-realistic portraits of a project titled Thisness.

For the project, Yesiltas used AI photo enhancement software and photo editing programs to imagine what historical icons would look like if they lived in the 21st century instead of their own time.

Sharon Tate – 1960s actress and model
Al Capone – American mobster and businessman
Benjamin Franklin – Founding Father of the United States
Audrey Hepburn – Classic Hollywood Actress

Yesiltas used the original photos of these individuals to create modern portraits. With the help of AI, he reconstructs their outfits and photo composition before retouching the image to transform these historical legends into modernized icons.

15th century Italian explorer Christopher Columbus is reimagined as a contemporary man in a white t-shirt.

Meanwhile, the Founding Father of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, is portrayed as a modern-day politician in a sleek black suit with an American flag brooch.

Christopher Columbus – Italian explorer
Babe Ruth – American Baseball Player
Charlie Chaplin – Silent Movie Star

New York Yankees legend Babe Ruth is pictured in a casual sweatshirt rather than a 1930s baseball outfit.

Meanwhile, American mobster Al Capone no longer wears his famous pinstripe suit. Instead, the mobster, who rose to prominence during the Prohibition era, is depicted in chinos and a sweater.

Some of the stars depicted in Yesiltas’ portraits are instantly recognizable as modern-day mermaids, while others are less obvious at first glance.

1960s actresses Audrey Hepburn and Sharon Tate are unquestionably the sirens of modern times. However, it might take a moment to identify classic Hollywood star Ginger Rogers as a casually dressed actress in the modern age.

Henry Ford – American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company,
Rosa Parks – American activist in the civil rights movement
Lauren Bacall – Classic Hollywood Actress
Alexander Hamilton – American revolutionary and Founding Father of the United States
Ginger Rogers – Hollywood actress and dancer

Yesiltas says he plans to continue adding to his Thisness project and transform other historical icons into modern icons.

“Generally, the people I work with using AI are the people I personally want to see the photorealistic version or adapted to the current times,” he says.

“I think these people are indeed some of the greatest icons that ever lived, and I’m very curious about them.”

Helen Keller – author, disability rights advocate and political activist
Greta Garbo – Classic Hollywood Actress
Gene Kelly – Hollywood actor and dancer
Amelia Earhart – The first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
Humphrey Bogart – Classic Hollywood Actor

This isn’t the first time the photographer has used AI to “raise” stars from the dead. Yesiltas previously used AI to show this celebrities like Princess Diana, Kurt Cobain and John Lennon would look like if they were still alive today.


Picture credits: All pictures of Alper Yesiltas.

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