During the making of my documentary photo project ctrl+r about youth in post-Soviet countries, the war in Ukraine started. This froze my documentary series and I returned to the Netherlands. It was highly risky to continue with this project at the time and I decided to shelve it.
I wanted to expand this series, but I realised that it would be impossible to return to these countries in the near future. I’ve tried creating selections, short stories and collages from photos I’ve had taken. And then a new tool came into my hands – Midjourney.
Midjourney is an artificial intelligence software operating with pictures. This neural network is able to create new images using text descriptions, technical parameters and other imagery. I was interested in this software because it had the ability to combine multiple images together and create a new scene with it. With artificial intelligence I extended my project using the photos I had taken in Russia.
In Midjourney I started to put my own photographs together, indicating what details I wanted to take from each image. This created surreal landscapes with existing main characters, surroundings and details that in reality never existed in the same place and time.
Russian-born Toma Gerzha has lived in the Netherlands since 2009, where she is a practising photographer and published co-author.
Having completed her photography studies in 2019, Gerzha gained public recognition in 2022 for her solo exhibition at C-LAB Art Gallery in Amsterdam. The show included a series of photographs of teenagers in the post-Soviet space taken a few months before the war in Ukraine.
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