How many things can artificial intelligence do? Many, but not all, "because the difference is always made by those who are 'behind'". Word of Eugenio Marongiu, a well-known commercial and lifestyle photographer who is following a very particular project - where pairs of twins created with artificial intelligence are often the protagonists - so much so that it attracts international attention.

Born in Sassari in 1980 and raised in Sorso, he left Sardinia to go to study in Perugia in 2001: «An impactful experience, a somewhat bohemian life, freedom, open-mindedness, a new world». So much creativity that will take him to Milan in 2009: «They gave me a camera and the passion was born. I started studying at Bauer, one of the best schools, with a very academic focus. They taught a lot of theory about the history and philosophy of photography."

Then comes the idea of Katsuko Koiso, what is it?

«For one thing, it's an invented name, created at random by a generator, which sounds feminine in Japanese. It's a big project: it's not about shots but about images, in general, created with artificial intelligence (AI). Through a prompt I enter the characteristics I want and the image appears. Those are people who don't exist but are born from a descriptive text. In this sense I could actually define myself as a programmer."

L'immagine di due gemelle create con l'intelligenza artificiale (foto Eugenio Marongiu, concessa)
L'immagine di due gemelle create con l'intelligenza artificiale (foto Eugenio Marongiu, concessa)
L'immagine di due gemelle create con l'intelligenza artificiale (foto Eugenio Marongiu, concessa)

His subjects are often elderly people.

«First of all I want to say that, given that I have always been considered "different", inclusiveness and diversity are very important to me. I chose this representation because there is a lot of demand for different subjects compared to those of 30 years ago. In reality I am not limited to the elderly, but there are people of different religions, ethnic groups and ages."

What are the characteristics of today's old age?

«Until recently, those who were, for example, 60 years old made the “I'm preparing my grave” speech. Today old age is almost a trend: people go on trips, do sports, they invent anything. It's called the Golden Age for a reason. Obviously there are those who can do it and those who can't, because maybe they don't have the possibilities or are ill, but in general if you've managed your life well you can even reach 90 years old."

A photographer is also a bit of an esthete. Is there a difference between an old woman and an old man?

«I usually don't make distinctions, but a lot depends on how you deal with this period of life. I see elderly women in perfect shape and men of the same age, with big bellies, hanging out at the bar. There are women with graying hair who exude great charm, the Sardinian model Valeria Sechi immediately comes to mind ( HERE THE INTERVIEW ). A figure like hers is highly sought after, she is one of the few. Today agencies are moving more towards the authenticity of women and men."

Un'immagine creata attraverso l'intelligenza artificiale (Eugenio Marongiu, concessa)
Un'immagine creata attraverso l'intelligenza artificiale (Eugenio Marongiu, concessa)
Un'immagine creata attraverso l'intelligenza artificiale (Eugenio Marongiu, concessa)

Have you ever thought about a project on the centenarians of Sardinia?

«Yes, and often. If it is true that people aged 60-70-80 are sought out in the commercial world, it is also true that there is a tendency to seek them with a certain aesthetic for advertising reasons. Finding the well-groomed 70-year-old is easy, I would like to go further to represent more real, simple people who face age in a positive way but are perhaps not fashionable."

What would an elderly Sardinian created with artificial intelligence be like?

«A lot depends on the platforms you use and each one has a different aesthetic, just as – I make a risky comparison – the characteristics of the cameras are different. I should probably do more tests, this is the key to a good result. I would insert some words like gemini, sardi, tattooed."

Bald or with hair?


Body size?

«A mix of fat and lean».

High or low?

«That matters little because height is a parameter that is not perceived with this modality».




«Sardinian rural, or desert».

But does artificial intelligence work in these cases?

«We always start from the prompt, there is a whole reasoning behind it. A photographer like me has an advantage: he already knows how to work on locations, make-up and hair. If you don't indicate these elements they come out at random, and this is intelligence. That's why I said that the different platforms make a difference: some more accurate, some less. It's not like taking a photo where all it takes is one click. You have to have an idea, you have to write it down and have the result you had in mind. As if I were the director and the AI worked for me."

Un'opera di Eugenio Marongiu (concessa)
Un'opera di Eugenio Marongiu (concessa)
Un'opera di Eugenio Marongiu (concessa)

And is the error contemplated?

«I like mistakes, very much. AI is making giant strides, if we looked at a prompt from a year ago we would see an image full of defects, distorted, not comparable to anything real. Now incredible things come out but always based on your indications."

Does artificial intelligence have any shortcomings?

«Of course, for example the hands: he is unable to represent them well, perhaps because they are never in the foreground and have no specific references. So in the end there are several defects and this is the striking element."

Will the AI rebel?

“Scientists are talking about it, and if it continues to evolve there is this risk.”

Do you argue with us?

"Everyday! A year ago I started testing, also using Chat Gpt, but the difference will always be made by us, whoever is behind it. It is a tool at your service, the one who will win the great battle will be the one who knows how to exploit these tools. It's now an unstoppable thing."

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