When Junia Joplin tried out Lensa – a popular app that generates stylised images based on photographs – she saw a version of herself that had never existed but made perfect sense.
Joplin, who started transitioning as a transgender woman five years ago at age 39, said setting the app to create female images from her teenage snapshots had helped her to feel more at ease with her past. “It was moving.
Some of them looked so realistic,” Joplin, an associate pastor from Toronto, told Context. “So many of my memories don’t make sense, like I’m a woman who’s had a bunch of memories of some man’s life imprinted on her consciousness,” said Joplin. “But seeing ‘young June’, it became easier to envision myself as a young girl.” Lensa, made by California-based Prisma Labs, uses artificial intelligence (AI) for its “Magic Avatars” feature that generates a selection of original portraits and cartoons based on photos.
The app asks users to upload a selection of pictures of themselves and choose whether their avatars should be shown as male, female or other.