Another Instagram-Famous Photographer Has Owned Up to Using A.I. to Generate Some of His Images


Not a week after an Instagram portraitist confessed to using A.I. technology to generate his images, yet another photographer has admitted to PetaPixel that a number of his works were algorithmically generated.

Emanuele Boffa, whose Instagram account @emanuele_boffa counts upwards of 30,000 followers, has revealed that five photographs he uploaded to his feed have been generated with A.I. The images are highly stylized, each centering models in lush and often exotic locales—one even bears the logo of Vogue magazine.

In addition to posting on Instagram, which he has done since 2014, the Italian photographer maintains a portfolio account on Photo Vogue, the digital platform run by Vogue Italia. One of his photographs, titled Voyage Sans Retour, was featured on January 16 as Photo Vogue’s “Pic of the Day.” 

While his work is clearly photographic, Boffa, in his current Instagram bio, identifies himself as a “digital artist.”

“I work with all kinds of technology, even A.I.,” he told PetaPixel. “But I don’t only use A.I. to generate my photos; I use Blender, Photoshop, and other systems.”

He added that his “photos for years have never been pure,” suggesting that he has never not used digital technology in his practice.

(On Etsy, where he retails a selection of prints based on his photographs, including one of the A.I.-generated images, Boffa has described the majority of this work as created with “various digital and analogue techniques.”)

However, the outlet has noted that Boffa’s photographs on Instagram took a noticeable turn toward the sleek and polished around November 2022, right around the roll-out of the V4 model of Midjourney. 

Closer analysis of Boffa’s computer-generated photographs also surfaces telltale signs of machine intelligence. In one, depicting two male models against a floral backdrop, the earlobe of the individual on the right is noticeably misshaped. 

Another more egregious image of two females embracing against a desert landscape is dotted with strange phenomena from a distorted wind turbine in the background to a weirdly gathered sleeve to freakish hands, the likeliest giveaway of A.I.-generation. 

One of Boffa's images with telltale signs of A.I. generation. Photo: @emanuele_boffa on Instagram.

One of Boffa’s images with telltale signs of A.I. generation. Photo: @emanuele_boffa on Instagram.

While Boffa tagged his models in his earlier shoots, these recent photographs don’t carry any credits for the subjects depicted. And while his posts are often stacked with hashtags, Boffa has refrained from identifying these images as the work of A.I.

He explained: “James Cameron or Christopher Nolan and many other directors and cinematographers are continuously generating images with the help of computer graphics or A.I… I don’t think people care much.”

The people might beg to differ. According to PetaPixel and a rather irate user on Reddit, other creators attempting to call out Boffa’s use of A.I. have been blocked by the photographer on Instagram. Elsewhere, entities including the San Francisco Ballet, Netflix Japan, and the Mauritshuis have drawn criticism for their use of A.I.-generated art, which many believe pose a threat to the livelihoods of human artists.

Boffa did not respond by press time to a request for comment.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here