Craig Ames Photographs of British Algae - AI Impressions, 2022

Inspired by the botanist and photographer Anna Atkins’ work and her photographic record of botanical specimen (Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843-1853)), “Photographs of British Algae” by Craig Ames is, as Atkins’ work, created using one of the imaging technologies we have at our disposal. The English botanist and photographer, Anna Atkins, created the world’s first photobook and photographic-based record of botanical specimens.

Today, Ames uses the perhaps most transforming imaging technology being developed and employed, AI, to adopt Atkins’ philosophy of image making technique. The artist utilises this emerging technology in order to create “AI Impressions” specimen exemplars.

Ames used a broad sample of the latin names of the exemplars that Atkins photographed and processed them through a text-to-image AI generator, producing a body of work which was labelled and catalogued to create a new visual taxonomy of simulated algae. In this way, the simulacra intentionally distorts the boundaries between the real and the artificial, highlighting the growing disconnect between the natural world and the simulated hyperreality.

“Recently, my focus has shifted to exploring my long-term fascination with artificial intelligence and the monumental technical advancements, as well as the growing ethical concerns we are currently witnessing with the mainstream adoption of contemporary AI imaging algorithms.”

 Craig Ames


Craig Ames is a British artist whose work concentrates on contested spaces, expanded forms of evidence, simulation, artificial intelligence imaging as well as the networked image. He translates his ideas and projects with the help of different mediums, such as photography, AI imaging, text, moving image and sourced, online material. His interest in photography started when he was training to become an evidence photographer while serving the British Army as a combat soldier. The practice formed and expanded his fascination with the medium of photography. His artistic practice expanded to contested spaces on the home-front, in the UK and abroad, after he witnessed the strong expansion of nationalism and far right ideologies.

exhibitions // Notable achievements

- "New Topographies - Images of an Algorithmic Landscape", Format Festival (GB), 2023

- "Official Portraits for a Post-Truth Era", Shutter Hub Open (GB), 2021

- "Kill Zones", Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Collections Space (GB), 2019