CultureThe Society of Fantastic Beasts

The Society of Fantastic Beasts

We’ve been featuring fashion shoots and portrait projects from Oliver Doran in Gallery since his return to the island in 2020. This edition coincides with the launch of a new body of work that sees his creativity stretch from traditional photography into image creation with artificial intelligence. Over the last few years, A.I tools such as Midjourney have enabled creative people to flex their imaginations in new ways. We asked Oliver about this move and his foray into all things wild.  

Hang on, these aren’t photos. Oliver, what’s going on?

Indeed! While my foundation is in photography, I’ve journeyed into a realm where traditional photography converges with digital artistry and AI. “The Society of Fantastic Beasts” is not just a project; it’s an evolution of my artistry, a fusion of the tangible and the digital. This is where technology enhances storytelling in ways previously unimagined.

While these may look like traditional photos, they’re a blend of my signature studio style with the magic of AI. I provided detailed prompts to generate these images, envisioning them as if captured in my studio, with my lighting, my camera, my 18mm lens, and my backdrop. The twist? I never clicked a shutter button, and these animals never stepped foot in my studio. It’s all a fusion of my creative imagination with AI’s capabilities, bringing my fantasy world to life.

What got you into AI?

A.I, for me, represents a significant technological leap forward. Much like the shift from film to digital cameras or from basic calculators to scientific ones, I believe in embracing technological advancements. AI allows me to push boundaries, tell stories, and bring concepts to life in ways I never thought possible. I view it as the next chapter in the evolution of the visual arts, and I’m eager to be part of that narrative.

What made you choose the animals?

The animals I’ve chosen not only captivate with their beauty and charm but also resonate with cherished memories of my grandad, Marshall Doran. Marshall was an extraordinary figure in Jersey, known for building the iconic Fliquet Castle, Doran’s Courtyard Bistro, and owning the Revere Hotel. His penchant for the extraordinary even led him to own unique pets like a lion and a cockatoo. By showcasing these animals in “The Society of Fantastic Beasts”, I aim to honour his adventurous spirit, his love for the wild, and his significant imprint on Jersey’s history. These limited edition art prints are available internationally on my new art store, Marshall.Pictures.

Have you got any other projects up your sleeve of this nature?

Yes sir, I do! I’ve been a busy boy… While “The Society of Fantastic Beasts” was the start, I have an eventful year ahead. In mid-November, I’m focusing on “40 over 40”, an ode to the grace and resilience of women over 40. Come December, I’m excited about “The Art of Enterprise”. This project delves into the brand identities of business owners, and it will be showcased at the new Jaro Gallery on York Street. Each exhibition offers a unique perspective and story, and I can’t wait to share them all.

For more details and insights into these exhibitions, check out oliverdoran.com

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