Charlie Engman’s blurred realities

CR speaks to photographer and artist Charlie Engman who has been using AI to find new ways of thinking about imagery and representing our physical world

If a single art form can be said to have dominated the early 2020s, it is generative AI image-making. At the photorealist end of the spectrum, much of the output is hard to identify as the product of an AI program, while at the other end, much AI-generated work remains stylistically very obvious indeed, as does its oft-repeated subject matter. Either way, AI-made imagery has left its mark all over the internet, and within this vast visual soup, some of its confections have the ability to captivate with their originality and strangeness.

Charlie Engman makes these kinds of images, and while the pictures he generates using AI stand apart from his work as a photographer, the process now complements his photographic practice, often adding something unique, and frequently bizarre, to a new commission.

Engman is originally from Chicago and is now based in Brooklyn, New York. He became interested and involved with photography while doing a degree in Japanese and Korean Studies at Oxford University, and since then has worked largely in editorial and fashion, both as a photographer and art director. He has also published a book of images of his mother (Mom, Edition Patrick Frey).

Top: Couch Pony Kiss; Above Mom Mannequin. All images courtesy Charlie Engman