+
upworthy
Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

ai art generator

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.



“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.

Freddie Mercury

“I wish he hadn't got that disease.

There are plenty of amazing Freddie Mercury tributes and impersonators out there, but there will only ever be ONE Freddie Mercury.

Heath Ledger

“I wish he hadn't been affected by the exhaustion of his role.

One of Ledger's most notable roles is queer cowboy Ennis Del Mar in Ang Lee's iconic 2005 romantic western drama "Brokeback Mountain." In a time when queer storytelling was still taboo, Ledger's honest and compassionate portrayal broke down a lot of barriers for future stories.

Though Ledger officially died due to an overdose, many believe it was his role of The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” that pushed him over the edge.

Janis Joplin

ai art

Joplin would be 79.

Bored Panda

I wish she hadn't sought the inspiration she needed elsewhere.

The powerful singer with electric stage presence is still one of the greatest female rock stars of all time. Scratch that—one of the greatest rock stars of all time, period.

Jimi Hendrix

jimi hendrix

Hendrix would be 80.

Bored Panda

I wish he hadn't sought the inspiration he needed elsewhere.

Like Joplin and Ledger, Hendrix died due to an overdose—though many have speculated that it was instead the result of foul play.

Michael Jackson

I wish he hadn't faced vitiligo.

However questionable his personal life was, the King of Pop made some of the biggest contributions to music of all time. People continue to sing his songs, and likely will for a very, very long time.

Kurt Cobain

nirvana

Cobain would be 55.

Bored Panda

“I wish he had decided to stay.

The insightful, poetic and troubled Cobain took his life at 27. His story is a cautionary tale that success does not necessarily help thwart struggles with mental health.

Bruce Lee

bruce lee

Lee would be 81.

Bored Panda

I wish he hadn't taken that painkiller that day.

The actor and martial-arts expert died at 32, officially due to a harmful reaction to a painkiller. His philosophies around kung fu, however, are eternal.

John Lennon

I wish he hadn't been in New York that day.

Legendary artist and activist John Lennon was fatally wounded by a gunshot in December 1980. The last thing he talked about, revealed ex-wife Yoko Ono in an interview, was the desire to see his son before he went to sleep.

Elvis Presley

elvis movie

Presley would be 87.

Bored Panda

I wish he decided to live a life where he paid more attention to the health of his heart.

Had Presley not died of cardiac arrest, he would be 87 this year.

Tupac Shakur

“I wish he hadn't been involved in that event that would cause him to face the mafia.

The cause of Tupac’s untimely death is also one of debate and speculation. According to some, he never died at all. What we can all agree on—he was one of hip-hop's most iconic figures.

Princess Diana

This one seems to be a new addition to the collection, so no wistful message. Although I’m sure the general sentiment is “I wish she were still here.”

AI-generated art is a controversial topic, to be sure. Some consider it a new, innovative medium. Others see it as devoid of any real creativity at all, as it’s produced by a machine, rather than a human. Many are concerned that, as is the case with many jobs that get machine automated, it will threaten the livelihood of actual illustrators.

Those concerns are certainly valid, but perhaps there’s a balance to be found here, as Yesiltas seems to have accomplished. Previously, another artist similarly created stunningly lifelike portraits of cartoon characters from “Encanto” and ”The Simpsons.” These works still required the human touch, and were carefully crafted over time rather than cracked out in mere seconds, as is the case with a lot of AI art.

At its best, AI art helps remind us, as Yesiltas puts it, that "anything imaginable can be shown in reality.” Which, at the end of the day, could be said for any art.


This article originally appeared on 9.23.22

Double H Canine Academy in Louisville, Kentucky is a place where dog owners can take their rambunctious pets and have them turned into respectable members of the family.

However, as you can tell in this hilarious video, not all dogs are meant to follow orders.

Keep ReadingShow less

Julia Roberts and Emma Roberts

Actress Julia Roberts was late to the game when it came to joining social media, so she was blown away when she finally saw first-hand how toxic it could be. She started an Instagram account in June of 2018 and, shortly after, was the target of trolls mocking her appearance in a post by her niece.

Roberts was upset about the negative comments people made about her looks and then was gutted when she considered social media's effect on young women. In a 2018 interview with Oprah Winfrey for Harper’s Bazaar, Julia recounted the story.

“Although something did happen recently on my niece Emma’s Instagram that I think taught me a lot about what it’s like being a young person in today’s society. One weekend morning Emma slept over, and we got up and were having tea and playing cards and having this beautiful morning, and then a couple of days later, she posted a picture of us,” Roberts recalled.



Keep ReadingShow less

Prepare to get Thatcherized.

It seems that Adele is going viral once again.

Perhaps you’ve seen the image in question previously (it seems to make the rounds every couple of years). But in case you missed it—it’s Adele’s face. Normal, just upside down.

Only it’s not normal. In fact, when you turn Adele’s face right side up, what you notice is that her eyes and mouth were actually right-side up THE ENTIRE TIME, even though the entire head was upside down. So when you turn the head right side up, the eyes and mouth are now UPSIDE-DOWN—and you can’t unsee it. Do you feel like you're Alice in Wonderland yet?

Keep ReadingShow less
Representative image from Canva

Because who doesn't want to preserve the natural beauty of a bouquet for as long as possible?

With Valentine’s having just passed, many of us might be looking at beautiful bouquets bestowed by our sweethearts and wondering how to keep them fresh for as long as possible (the flowers, that is, but maybe your beau as well).

If the thought of experimenting with a ton of home remedies found online sounds exhausting, you’re in luck! Someone decided to test a whole handful of them to see which worked best for perfectly preserved petals.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

'Nicest judge in the world' reveals the $300 case that pushed him to rule with compassion

Judge Frank Caprio shares how his father's disappointment in his first judgment "crumbled" him.

StephanieRPereira/Wikimedia Commons

Judge Caprio has become known for his compassion in the courtroom.

Frank Caprio has spent 38 years as a judge, making a name for himself as the chief judge of the municipal court of Providence, Rhode Island and gaining fame as the "nicest judge in the world" for his rulings on the reality show "Caught in Providence."

Caprio's empathy and compassion has shone through in his judgments, as he talked to defendants like real people, getting to know their personal stories and issuing judgments that helped the person get on their feet rather than punishing them for being poor or sick or taking care of their family.

In a video on Instagram, Caprio shared that his compassionate approach stemmed from a case brought before him on his very first day on the bench. When asked if there was a certain case from his years as a judge that he still thinks about today, Caprio shared that there was one case that made him feel "crumbled," and which he still gets upset just thinking about.

Keep ReadingShow less

President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden share how they fell in love.

The creators of Meet Cute NYC took a 230-mile detour down south and stopped by Washington, DC. to get the story of how the President and First Lady met for a special Valentine’s Day post. The result was a lesson in the critical role that persistence can play in bringing people together.

Meet Cute NYC documents “microportraits of modern love” and features its host, Jeremy Bernstein, asking random people the all-important question: “Excuse me, are you two a couple?”

The video opens with Mr. Biden revealing how he met Jill in 1975 after being set up by his brother. The president lost his wife, Neilia, and 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, in a car crash in 1972, leaving him the single father of 2 boys.

Keep ReadingShow less