Watch When Creativity Meets Technology: A Conversation with Creator Labs artists & Google Pixel at PhotoVogue Festival | PhotoVogue Festival 2023: What Makes Us Human? Image in the Age of A.I.

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I’m super happy to be here with all of you,

and you know how much joy it brings me.

And, in particular, to be here with these wonderful artists.

And to do this with friends.

I really would like to thank Steven and Ava,

who are here

in our audience.

And are the minds and the hearts

behind this wonderful project that shares

so many of the photo book values.

And I’m talking about Google Creator Labs,

which started, it’s a program that started in 2019.

And has,

you know, and has helped more than

35 artists at the moment.

And more than a hundred projects.

So, it is incredible what these guys are doing

to foster a more, you know, beautiful, visual world.

And so, thank you for all the work that you do.

So, I’m super happy to be doing this with you.

And let me introduce you to this wonderful artist.

We have Kennedi Carter, that we adore.

And we have Anthony Prince Leslie.

Please, if I mispronounce some names, just tell me.

Mayan Toledano.

Myesha Evon Gardner.

Did I say it correctly?

And then, from

Google, Google Pixel,

Product Marketing Manager, Sebastian Rodriguez.

It’s a pleasure to have you, ’cause you’re gonna be

able to answer all of my questions.

I’ll try my best.

And, yeah, I’m gonna catch you if you go too long,

’cause I saw that in the bar that you tried,

you think you can go on forever,

but, yeah, that’s another thing.

So,

exactly, I do believe that we

need more and more projects like Google Creator Labs-

Mayan, so I did it say wrong.

Okay.

Thanks, Kennedi.

Sorry.

So, I said, I think it’s important to have programs

like this that care for the artist,

and that supports artists worldwide.

And,

to start a conversation,

I also would like to say that, maybe,

phones are become today what cameras used to be

in the past, you know?

We all carry our phones with us.

And I feel that these incredible little machines

that somehow let us, not only

take pictures, but there’s also that idea of

being able to share.

And it comes to mind the idea that

happiness is real just when shared.

And this is so true.

And this is what these magic, little boxes

allow us to do.

So, before getting more into, maybe,

more technical questions about what is

Google Pixel.

What these phones allow and enable artists to do.

I would like to ask to each of you

if you can talk about the project that you worked on

with Google Creator Labs.

Maybe

starting with you, Kennedi?

All right.

I’ve been, I think, working with

Google Creator Labs since 2020.

Correct me if I’m wrong.

But there’s been multiple projects that I’ve just been

working on a lot alongside them,

and I feel like I’m always able to do something new.

The most recent one that I did was

photographing myself and my son.

And, I guess, just exploring how motherhood is to me.

I’ve worked with cowboys, black cowboys in the South.

That’s also been really great.

And, now, I’m kind of exploring,

I guess, just pinups.

And black women in pinup.

Black women in showgirls.

And kind of making self portraits within that realm.

So, yeah, those are some of the things that I’ve been doing.

I’ve been working on a couple projects

that have involved a lot of community.

A lot of the starting points of Creator Labs

is to focus on community, and then how we kind of like

share and thrive within our cultures.

So, I’ve been with Creator Labs since

2021.

Season six.

So, this is my third year?

Or third season?

And one of the things that I love about Creator Labs is that

they really encourage, you know,

that liberation and that freedom with experimentation.

And, you know, really allowing yourself, as an artist,

to have that range and that,

you know, freedom to just explore the ideas that you have.

And I think, as artists,

especially for us as professional artists,

especially when you work like in a commercial space,

it’s always a breath of fresh air to be able to

experiment in the ways that you see your work,

and allow some of your own questions to be answered

as you experiment and explore,

and then have things revealed to you.

We don’t always have that freedom.

So, that’s one thing that I love about Creative Labs.

My first project was

documenting Cleveland, Ohio, which is my hometown.

And focusing on, like, the different nuances of

culture and subculture communities

in a town like Cleveland,

which kind of gets a lot of hate because of,

you know, it’s a smaller city.

You know, it’s been through some annexation.

It’s lost a lot of funding.

So, you know, some of the love and the appreciation

has been taken away from it,

but there are still humans and people there who really care

and love to nurture the spaces that they’re in.

So, I’m focusing on those spaces.

And then, for my second project,

I was really interested in

plastic surgery and autonomy to the body,

because that’s another community within itself.

It’s, like, women who choose to

have surgery and alterations done to their bodies,

and how they kind of stand together

and create safe spaces for healing and recovery.

And, also, like, self-confidence and self-image.

And I’m really interested in this concept of vanity,

especially in a digital age, where

so much of what we do is, like, altered.

And so many people are judged

and chastised for altering their bodies.

And the women that I worked with were like,

you know, women who were like every day,

it was like a range of women.

One woman was a nail tech.

Another woman was an actual dancer, like a stripper.

Another woman was trans.

So, just thinking about the correlation between

autonomy, body change, and kind of morphing in these ways

while we have this life and these bodies that we’re in,

in the physical realm.

Thank you.

I’ve been with Creator Labs since season one,

so this is my eighth season and fourth year.

And, throughout those four years, I’ve been documenting my

friends and people that I love

within the queer community in Mexico City,

following a few trans women throughout

their transformation and evolvement.

And it became, it’s weird to talk about it as a project,

’cause, at this point, it’s just my life and my experiences.

And it’s just part of me

and the years that I’ve spent there.

And,

a few weeks ago, I published a book

with photos from this project.

So, yeah, now its in physical form.

Congratulations. Yeah.

And the focus of the-

The focus of this project is

joy and unity within the community, where

some of the people in the book

and some of the conversations we’ve had is that,

in a violent nation towards trans women, like,

part of the resistance for them is to stay together

and celebrate joy in creation.

A lot of them are artists, creatives, musicians.

And there is a very collaborative

sense of moving through the city.

So, yeah, that’s the focus of the project.

Hi.

What was the question again?

What is our project?

So, I’ve been working with Creative Labs

from the inception, along with Mayan.

It’s just been amazing to be able to continue to work on

passion projects from the onset.

And, again, like, sort of what Myesha is saying,

where we’re able to continue to, like,

divert our efforts from the commercial world

to be able to really, like, really develop our voice,

because you start to lose that voice after a little while.

When you’re working with brands like Nike,

you know, the H&M,

you know, all the things that we wish

to work for as a creative.

Because, yeah, it might gain the funds, but a big part of

why this is such an important space for us is that,

you know, we get to do what we feel like is super important.

And, yeah, I’ve been able to work on

a few things that include topics of black love.

I like to document the fact that I’m a

first generation Jamaican-American.

And, yeah, a lot of my things really just,

you know, thrive around, you know, the black expression,

and then how I can continue to,

you know, tie that back down to,

you know, how do we continue to

elevate the conversation that we usually see in media of,

like, how we look and how we’re portrayed.

Thank you.

I mean, you are all so talented.

It’s really a pleasure to be here talking with you.

You know, while you were talking,

I was thinking what we were saying back at the bar,

about Robert Kappa.

And,

it seems to me, if I think back, how

technology is actually so intertwined with

creativity and the outputs that we generate.

If you think that the war in Crimea,

so I’m talking about

the beginning of the century, of the last century.

To be able to take pictures,

this photographer was going around with sort of like a bus,

because the camera was huge, right?

And he couldn’t detect, like, people in it,

’cause the exposure was like

you needed an exposure that was like so long.

And, if you think of how

photography has evolved as a medium,

that is so much linked to how technology has evolved.

So, you see from like big, large format cameras,

and that was mainly, you know,

pictures were taken in studios.

Think about people needed to be super still.

Like, they had stick to

take, you know, you could,

you should stay in position for like one minute, like this.

And, otherwise, no picture.

And then, you know, when they invented,

like, 35 millimeters,

then we had people like Martin Munk√°csi,

who used to be a sport photographer,

who started taking the models outside.

And we remember in the ’30s these beautiful first images

appearing in fashion magazines.

Of models like laughing and running on the beach.

And that was impossible before.

So, see, I mean, I think it’s a bit of an hypocrisy to

think of these two things as separate,

’cause I always believe that technology

empowers us to move forward and to

be able, more and more, to share our vision.

It’s like we grow with technology

and the possibilities.

It’s like, you know, whenever I speak to people

who know more than me about technical things,

I always ask, it’s like,

Just talk to me and tell me what are the possibilities,

because that is gonna give me ideas.

Like, if I know what I can

have, technically, I’m gonna think of something amazing.

It’s, like, I need to know what’s there.

What I can use to reach my vision.

Correct?

Just, yeah?

I mean-

Or you’re now gonna talk for half an hour?

No, no, not at all. Okay.

I think you’re right.

I think the way that we’ve thought about

photography at large is

democratizing photography, which means,

how do you make everything that,

otherwise would mean that you’d have to spend more money,

learn new tools,

and get that in the palm of your hand?

To your point, like,

not hauling a huge camera to get that one moment

you know you can’t replicate again.

And, in part, it’s also letting artists,

such as our amazing creators,

figure out what they can do with it.

So, it’s a little bit of art and science.

But art determines what we build.

And we figure out what problems to solve.

Thank you.

And could you share, I don’t know if you had

this sort of epiphany ever

with this phone taking picture, if there’s, like,

a particular thing that, like, somehow

facilitated something for you?

Like maybe something in particular

that you didn’t know you could do,

and maybe you discover it through using the phone.

Or, maybe, exactly, a particular

thing that the phone allowed you to create.

Feature or, yeah.

So, less about-

It’s not a feature, but more just the

technical form of having a smaller camera.

I’m not a technical person in general.

I never studied photography.

I don’t follow

a lot of rules, I would say.

But, I did start shooting with an analog camera

that my uncle gave me.

He found it in a flea market,

and that’s how I started photography.

Really just experimenting.

And, as my career progressed, I noticed that,

you know, the needs within

a film set or a photo studio set,

it’s a lot of equipment and a lot of people involved.

Where, the phone, you don’t really need anything.

You don’t-

I didn’t need assistance when I’m shooting on the phone.

I don’t need to set up lighting,

because it has the technology to

optimize the light and connect a few images together,

to have, so that the background, the face,

everything is in the frame,

is in focus, and in good lighting.

So, just removing all those barriers on set

allowed me to create a much more intimate environment.

And really made the connection on set much smoother.

So, for me,

when I shoot, I like to

change the kind of classical roles of, I’m directing.

I know what the photo is gonna look like.

The person is standing in stage,

and I enjoy more of a collaboration.

So, with the phone, I’m able to just

give it to the person I’m shooting

and see how they wanna see themselves.

How they wanna shoot.

Even if it’s just a selfie.

Even if they have an idea of

a corner in the room that they wanna take a photo of.

It’s something that becomes a lot more fluid.

And I really enjoy that on set, because

it gives the person more agency,

and it allows me to tell their story much better

with a small device.

And, also, because that access,

it’s not just that it’s small, it’s that anyone can use it.

Everyone has a phone.

So, using a camera on a phone is something that-

Less intimidating, right? Yeah.

It’s like- So, it’s removing-

We’re here and taking selfies, yeah.

So, it’s removing those, more, the,

I guess, the distancing roles

and the traditional roles on set,

but it’s also removing the

technical aspects and kind of fears

that someone might have in front of

a large camera in a setup of lighting.

It’s immediately natural.

There’s no-

You’re not changing the space by having a phone.

They have a phone.

I have a phone, you know?

Yeah, that’s great.

So poetic, actually.

Thank you.

Yeah, I feel like,

with the Google Pixel, it really allowed me to, like,

start to,

just start to take away, like,

the amount of lighting that I would use.

By nature, I’m a filmmaker.

And what’s also great on the Google Pixel,

shooting video is also another experience as well,

apart from photo.

But that allowed me to, like, start to manage my

love for lighting and how

between lightness and darkness, you know,

where do I want the contour and the shading?

You know,

and just a contrast within my imagery.

So, being able to use less lights

has definitely impacted, like, you know,

what the budget is on these sets.

But, on top of that, I’m able to, like,

start to think, like,

you know, what is the direction?

What is the story that I’m telling with this one light?

You know, what is this source?

And then, how can I amplify that in a room?

Because, when you’re thinking about film,

you’re thinking about several images, you know?

It’s a motion picture.

So, you know, how do I set up this lighting to,

in a way in which I can go from this frame and, you know,

point A to this frame in point B.

And I was able to like create these

one take shots

within my first project, called Freebird,

which really allowed me to, like, you know,

just be able to move freely.

A lot more freely than I would

when I’m using like prosumer cameras.

I think, for me, it’s like

that reminder that

it’s not about the camera, it’s the photographer.

Like, that reminder was something

that was really evident for me

while learning about the technology

and all of the tools that come from an SLR or DSLR.

An analog film and digital.

And even, you know,

as I started to photograph

my first project,

understanding just the range of different lighting settings

that this camera can handle.

And being okay with that.

And being okay with not being in control all the time.

Because my approach was more of a docustyle.

Kind of like guerilla style.

A-day-in-the-life kind of vibe.

So, I really had to let the moment kind of present itself.

It also taught me and reminded me of the patience.

Even with a digital tool,

because I also train as an analog photographer.

I work a lot in the dark room.

I print my own work,

which takes a lot of patience and

a lot of knowing, but then, also, a lot of unknowing.

So, it’s just kind of like that reminder.

But also that, you know, I’m familiar with this process,

because it’s really not about the camera,

it’s about the story.

It’s about the narrative.

It’s about, to me, the work that comes from your heart.

That’s what makes it interesting,

is that it’s your own unique perspective.

It’s not just about, This image is so crispy,

and clean, and you can see all of the pixels.

Like, I don’t really care about a clean image,

and I’m also like very unconventional with the way I shoot.

In high school, my teacher would always say,

Myesha, your photos are underexposed.

You need to light it properly.

And, I’m like, But I like this.

Like, I’m a dark and moody kind of girl,

so I like that to kind of like shine through.

I like for people’s light to be revealed from them.

And it was something that

I really got to explore with this camera,

because it works really well

under those like lower light settings.

And then, another project that I did was

for the presentation of the Google Pixel 8

and all the pro controls.

I was one of the photographers to test

the actual technology.

So, I was shooting with, like, long exposures,

which was another,

I guess, like, lesson that I got in high school,

but I shot it on a digital camera.

So, it was nice to kind of see,

you know, how the shutter, and how the f-stop

translates on the phone.

But then, also, I still gotta sit there and wait two seconds

for me to be able to paint the light into the photos,

and create that range of motion

that I want in a still image.

But, also, you know,

surprising myself with what’s even possible.

So, for me, it’s just about remembering,

it’s not about the the camera,

it’s about the photographer.

Yes, I agree.

Ooh, I just got hit with a wave of nervousness.

I looked out and I was like,

Wow, it’s a lot of people out there.

But I think one thing that shooting with the Pixel

has made me do is, I think,

just realize how I perform with a camera,

and how I guess, like,

working with your sitter is kind of

a performance within itself.

Depending on the camera,

your sitter will act in different ways.

I think the Pixel has definitely made

situations feel more calm or less intense,

in comparison to when I pull out a big dog, like the RZ67.

And they’re like, Oh, she’s standing on business.

But, when you have,

when you’re coming at someone with a Pixel or a phone,

it definitely makes the situation

feel a bit more accessible.

And I think that

kind of being able to break that fourth wall

is something that was very important to me.

So, I think, not only is the experience more accessible,

in terms of like being able to just point and shoot.

You make your image and you’re not having to,

I don’t wanna say think as critically, but just

have to,

I don’t know, like, you know, consider all these settings.

And it just takes out less variables,

which I’m appreciative of.

Thank you for saying this.

You’re all so thoughtful.

And I share all the things you’re saying.

It’s also what I think.

And it makes even more sense.

I’m sorry, but my adored

soulmate just arrived.

So, welcome.

Welcome, welcome.

I love this man, so I need to say it out loud.

What’s this man’s name?

Jamie.

Hi, Jamie.

What’s good?

Hi, Jamie.

Okay, so,

what I was trying to say is that

it is always about the vision,

and it’s never about the tool.

And whenever I hear people

condemning this and that,

and stressing more about the tool than the vision,

usually, they’re bad artists.

I have to say it, I’m sorry.

No, but it’s true, you know?

Usually, you go and look,

and their work is not so good, you know?

When you are so fixated with, like,

the technicality of things.

And you just lose the emotion,

which is, actually, the most important thing

that photography is there for.

I mean, I think what is never going to stop to amaze me is

how, for instance, photography affects my mood,

and, I guess, everyone’s mood.

And there are pictures that can really change my day.

And this idea of empathy that you feel with photography

is so incredible, and it’s,

it’s such a gift.

And that has nothing to do with technicality.

I remember Joel Meyerowitz,

he’s a friend and is a great artist.

And, once we were talking and he mentioned

this like coefficient of,

of artistry, he says,

which is the difference between

what is in front of you

and what your vision, through the photograph,

shows of what is in front of you.

And that is

being an artist somehow.

Otherwise, we have postcards.

We have pictures that are done for other reason,

but that is not the photography that we love.

And I think that this is also important and it ties to

our relationship with AI, and what AI is.

Meaning,

let’s not look at this like

something that is nothing.

It’s this,

I think, linked to the vision, right?

It’s just an enabler to

get where

your vision is, right?

Maybe you can-

Yeah, that’s totally right.

When we think about AI,

I think we kind of all immediately

jump to a place of what AI is.

When the reality is that, I love that coefficient quote,

which is, how can we make that distance happen faster?

And how can we provide you the tools

so you don’t spend time and money achieving that vision?

It’s how can we enable that faster?

And it’s not only in photography.

It’s in writing.

It’s in productivity and messaging.

It’s just entwined to everything we do.

And I think we’ve kind of dismissed it.

It’s been a journey the last year

as the AI kind of moment has been happening.

But, the reality is that,

when we went and built Pixel, the Google Pixel phone,

our vision was like, Well, how can we bring all this

AI to everybody’s palms?

And that means photography.

That means breaking barriers of languages.

Being able to speak Italian without knowing Italian

and being able to have a conversation

is a real purpose of AI.

It’s connecting people, it’s connecting communities,

it’s enabling storytelling.

And it starts with

just your phone.

And it’s just similar-

What I’ve always been taught about photography is that

it’s a magical moment when the tool disappears

and you’re able to do what you wanna do.

It’s, you stop fiddling and imagine a future where

the phone disappears,

and you’re just having conversations across languages.

Or you arrive to the airport,

and you know exactly where you have to go.

I see that same idea with photography.

It’s, the moment happens,

and I don’t have to worry about the technicality,

I know I have the shot.

Thank you.

And, listen,

what is your opinion?

And, also, I wanna ask you guys, I mean,

everything goes so fast nowadays.

And I feel even the way we scroll our phones,

and the way technology advances is so fast.

Everything is so fast.

So, in this super fast

world, I mean,

what do you think is relevant today?

And where do you see

photography going in the future?

I think what’s super relevant is

just the human connection.

You know, like what Sebastian is saying, like,

we’re crunching the time, and so,

to where, you know, Google AI is helping us to

really be able to react on what we’re seeing in front of us.

And, a lot of the times,

you know, when, you know, on any other DSLR,

you know, you gotta change those settings.

And, in between those moments, like,

I feel like every photographer here knows, like,

you’re talking through it.

Like, you know, This looks great.

And then, you know, it’s just a little bit of like

that fluff conversation that happens in

between time while you’re switching settings

and talking to your team,

and trying to make your talent feel comfortable.

You know, now we’re able to like

just increase the time of connection that we created.

And, what I love to see in work all the time,

and like what I was seeing inside the gallery,

that you all made so amazingly here

and curated so amazingly here, is, like, the fact that

a lot of the time, a lot of the work-

I kind of lost my thought just right there,

because I was thinking about how beautiful the work was.

But, again, just to go back to the human connection,

you know, being able to actually-

Oh, there we go.

I was thinking about like how-

But I was just thinking about like, you know,

again, the human connection

and a lot of the work that I love that’s out there

usually spans with people who like

really get the idea, like the talent that really received,

you know, the prompt from the photographer

and was really able to carry out,

you know, the angle, the emotion,

the direction of like what exactly they’re portraying

or the moment that they were in.

It’s real, it feels real, and you can connect to that.

So, ultimately, it’s like,

Wow, I really feel that photo, and it looks beautiful,

but there’s always a little bit, you know,

if you dig a little bit deeper,

you’ll find that you’re connecting

with the photo from past experiences.

Or, you know, what you might like as a photographer.

It’s like, Dang, I know they,

they did a slow, a long exposure there,

but like they painted that part out, you know?

I also think that,

with technology and the way that

it has evolved with civilization,

is just going to continue to do just that.

That’s number one.

Number two, I think that

the way that we utilize these tools

we’ll never really be able to say

where it will be in five, in 10, in 15, 20 years,

because we are asking just as many

questions as everyone else as artists.

So, our curiosity got us here.

And our curiosity will continue to,

you know, allow us to expand.

But I do think, through the curiosity,

it allows you to do the things that are impossible,

where you’re just like, you know,

I wish I had a tool to edit out

all of the trees in this background,

so I don’t have to manually do it myself,

because that’s gonna take forever, right?

But, when you

are just kind of curious about how to speed things along

and kind of expand your own imagination,

whether you’re doing docustyle work

or, you know, you’re kind of re-fantasizing some things.

Like I saw some beautiful work where

people were like morphed into animals.

You have to be a very curious person to do that.

For that concept to come outta your mind,

you know what I mean?

So, to me, it’s like,

I think with, through curiosity,

it’s going to continue to evolve.

But I personally can’t say like,

Oh, in 20 years, AI is gonna, you know, I don’t know.

I have no idea, but I do think

just remaining curious as an artist,

and allowing it to kind of pique your own personal interest,

that, to me, I think, is really powerful.

And I think everyone has the, they have access to it.

I also don’t think that AI

is something that’s like inaccessible.

Or, you know, it’s not a secret, you know?

Whereas, if you look at the history of photography,

there’s a lot of photographers who kept

their techniques really close to their hearts.

Like, I’m not sharing what I’m doing in this dark room,

because it is my process.

It’s what I wanna do to have a signature style.

And, with these tools, you can kind of, like,

create your own variation,

because it’s coming from your mind.

And, without that human touch, you know,

the way Kennedi will photograph a long exposure image

versus how I shoot it, will not be the same.

It’s the same tool, but

the way she thinks about it

can be completely different for me.

And I think that’s a perfect world.

Yeah, and, you know, what you’re saying

also makes me think of the accessibility, in terms of

wealth, because, sometimes, it can be so expensive.

You know, I remember,

back in the days when I started photography,

we were using film and you needed to do-

I mean, film was very expensive.

And then, printing.

And then, this, and then the Polaroids.

And then, the lighting, and then, you know?

It was really, really expensive.

So, I think, somehow, now everything

is more accessible to everyone.

And this is great.

‘Cause, at the end, again, it’s just

better for the artist who has vision,

and can actually deliver and show to the world

their vision, no?

I think in relation to accessibility

and being artists in a world that is constantly evolving

in technology,

we are also in a time of an overload of information, right?

So, sometimes, there’s a lot of misinformation.

Or mis-

You know, some stories are told not from the perspective of

someone within the community

or how they want to be represented.

And I think, looking at the future,

I think there’s gonna be a lot more value in-

How do you say this?

Trust, okay?

So, we’re sitting here, four artists that

constantly we bring ourselves into what we do, right?

It’s personal for us.

Some of us photograph ourselves.

Some of us are agents of our communities.

We tell our own stories.

So, when we do it

in the present, it feels like,

Okay, we’re making contemporary work.

But, in a few years, this is a recording of our history.

So, these stories

are told right now so that, in the future,

there’s value to look back and like see who we were,

and what this society looked like at this time.

You know, I’m super hot.

Sorry if I’m watching things here.

It’s just that this is wrong.

And so, I don’t want you, this says 40 minutes,

we just have under seven minutes.

So, just so you know, I’m trying-

It’s only been seven minutes?

Make things work

when things do not work.

Anyway,

it’s not 39 minutes, it’s like seven.

I’m super happy that you’re talking about trust,

because I’ve been thinking a lot about how trust,

I think, it’s gonna be more and more than your currency.

Because, in a world that,

where we do not understand anymore

what’s real, what’s not, what’s true, what’s, you know?

And how authentic it is,

because of this avalanche of images.

And it’s not that we know everyone that posts images,

what’s their story.

So, again, it becomes so important,

again, the individual part.

Who’s that person?

And, maybe, it makes me also have hope for magazines

and, exactly, newspapers that maybe are

trustworthy instead of getting news anywhere.

You know, it’s like, exactly,

I’m gonna go and get news where I feel

I can trust this person.

I think, and you talked about this a little bit,

and I think also just circling back to

your initial question.

But I think living in a world

and making art in a world in which the work moves so fast,

we might end up being just hit with a counterculture

that just values processes that feel more slow.

I know that, just talking to some mentors

that had been making work,

maybe like in the ’70s and the ’80s,

but they were working on projects

that they considered to be life’s work,

and would sit on it for a very long time.

And I hope that that is something that we

just come to value, which is just time.

And figure out just, as technology moves so fast,

as the work moves so fast,

how can we start to value

just slowness and meditating with the work?

Thank you, Kennedi. I agree with that.

Well then, I’ve-

I want to know your opinion on the future of

photography.

And then, I am gonna leave one minute

for at least one question for the audience,

’cause it was very-

Oh, now, all of the sudden-

Magic.

What happened?

We just spoke about trust.

I thought we had all the time in the world,

and it’s five minutes. Five minutes.

Yeah, the- Four.

Four, thank you.

The future of photography is,

I don’t think the present

and the past of photography has changed.

It’s always been about getting that moment,

freezing that moment, whether it’s a life’s work.

Whether it’s the first steps of your kid.

Whether it’s little moments that you

slowly find in the way, and then

they become greater part of your work.

Like, photography hasn’t changed in that way.

I think we’ve gotten to the point

where photography’s become so accessible

that I think we need to ask,

what can we do with every photograph we’ve ever taken?

What can we start doing with video?

And video is a new frontier.

I mean,

we’ve never created more video than we’ve ever have.

And I think we’re at that frontier of where

photography and video are kind of taking kind of inter-

They’re changing roles.

And I think it’s kind of interesting to see

where that’s gonna go.

And the new generation of image creators

are gonna be multi-creators.

They’re gonna think about video, text, photos.

AR/VR experiences.

And that’s something that might be

in the frontier of photography and image making.

I do think that the key thing for

us to be able to remove the friction of creating is,

how can we start using a lot of, you know,

AI, and in our case, Google’s AI,

to simplify that process?

To make sure that you can find the right image.

To make sure that the image is authentic

to what the world you’re seeing is.

To make sure that

you have the right information

to take the right photo at the right time.

And spend as much time creating

and discovering the technology.

I mean, there’s still some art of

picking up an old camera.

Or, like, figuring out the motions,

but there’s a moment and place for those things.

And

it’s definitely a new world we’re going into,

but it’s not unfamiliar.

It’s about creation, it’s about storytelling.

And I think the frontier is about,

not how much crisper it gets,

but how more authentic it can become.

Thank you.

Well, I really wanna thank all of-

I have one thing. Yes.

One thing to add.

Another thing that,

to kind of piggyback what you were saying, Seb.

Is we really,

well, I really want to

utilize AI as a tool.

It’s not taking over my creativity.

It’s not, you know,

manipulating imagery or manipulating,

it’s not always about manipulating reality.

It’s all about, you know,

okay, now you have like a stabilizer inside of the camera

instead of like physically buying a gamble

to like put your phone on,

because the stabilization is already there.

That technology is operating within itself to

kind of make your, not even your job,

but your focus and your vision

easier, simpler, more solid, and everything in between.

So, I definitely wanna continue to explore

the concept of AI as an additional tool to my camera kit.

Yeah, I don’t know if I can take a quick answer.

I know the timer says two minutes.

But I think one thing,

and I think really important when we think about

the Creator Lab program,

or we think about artists and creators,

is that we’ve been talking a lot about

AI as kind of like its own thing.

But the way we, as Google, think about AI and creativity

is that we need creators to tell us what we need to build.

We need you to test

and tell us if we’re doing a right job.

Keeping us accountable.

And that’s a great intersection between

creativity and technology,

is hearing the creative image makers,

what they need to make great work,

and being able to build that tool,

so it’s more seamless to making it happen.

Yeah, indeed, it’s all about collaboration, honestly.

At the root of everything, it’s all about collaboration.

How we’re able to communicate with each other.

So, yeah, I totally hear you

on that front, Sebastian, for sure.

Thank you.

Thank you, really, so much.

Thank you, thank you.

Thank you.

We have one minute for one question

if there are any questions.

Anyone, yes?

Okay, please, microphone.

Thank you very much.

I just feel like there’s a real

tension that I’m interested in.

And you’re talking about time.

You’re talking about like the speed that AI

allows us to edit things really quickly,

or to move really quickly with things.

But then, you’re also talking about

the importance of taking time and,

you know, of a large body of work

that you produce over time.

But, also, the longevity of images,

you know, and how they become our history.

So, I was wondering if you could just speak to that

tension about time, and speed,

and slowness, and quickness a little bit.

So, I actually think that the technology allows us to not

spend too much time on the technicality of things

and more on the connection, the storytelling,

the humanity within the story.

How much we put ourselves into it,

conceptualize it,

interpret it, you know?

Like, these processes take much longer.

And we want to meditate on those parts of the work

and not on setting up lighting,

editing on Photoshop for hours.

So, the work is,

the technology, for me at least,

it’s really there to support us and advance the work.

And not to, you know, take our time.

You took the words out my mouth.

I have no notes.

Yeah, agreed.

I was just thinking that,

to each his own.

Like, however you feel you wanna approach the work.

Because, even for myself,

you know, I have ideas that

I kind of wanna pop out in a week, you know?

But I also have ideas where

I feel like I need like five years

to work on, to develop like a rapport

with my sitters and my subjects, because that is a,

the tension between the time is

kind of based on the vision of the concept.

So, if you’re,

I don’t know, making a project about photosynthesis,

and you’re documenting, like, I don’t know,

how a flower grows from the ground,

you have to take time with that

no matter how fast your technology is.

So, it just, to me, it just depends on

your curiosity, your vision, your concept.

And then, you kind of approach it as needed

in the same ways that Mayan was saying, as like

just a tool to create that process more

flawlessly for yourself.

Unless you working on, like, within documentaries,

and like, you know what Myesha is doing,

like, running gun style and it’s like,

Okay, this moment is happening right now.

I gotta capture it.

Because replicating moments is just,

you know, not of the norm within documentaries,

unless you’re creating like, you know, these

chapter, you know, images that would allow you to like

open up on a question and what you’re trying to explore.

You know, it’s like, how can I really get in there

and create something that’s raw?

And that is, you know-

You just can’t plan, you know?

Do I get a chance?

It’s in negative minutes.

It’s minus five.

But, yeah.

Yeah, okay, you have one second to reply.

One second, all right, I’ll try my best.

I think one of the biggest missions that we have is,

and I think Mayan really summarized it,

which is removing the friction of creating.

And I think a lot of that comes to how can we,

as tools, and machine learning,

and computational photography,

which we just kind of briefly call AI,

can meet the creative where they need to be met

and make sure that everything works?

They can find the right ingredients

that will make the right work

without spending time figuring out the how.

And I think our mission is specifically

doing that in the most authentic, beautiful way

without getting in the way.

Well, it’s a wrap.

Thank you so much. Thank you.

Thank you, thank you.

[audience applauding]

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