Jayson Robertson takes generative AI to the street

Image of Jayson Robertson.

Jayson Robertson has always been a creative polymath. Years before making his mark as a street photographer and videographer he was a musician — playing music as well as writing songs, creating artwork, and directing photoshoots for his bandmates.

That explorer’s spirit has defined Robertson’s journey ever since. Even his passion for street photography is rooted in his love of the unexpected. “I love street photography because it’s always surprising instead of being planned and precise. You just go out with your camera, observe the world, and capture moments that will never be recreated,” he says.

Today, the Generative Fill features in Adobe Photoshop, powered by Adobe Firefly, Adobe’s family of creative generative AI models designed for safe commercial use, have unleashed Robertson’s creativity on a whole new scale. “People tell me to niche down but I don’t want to be pigeonholed,” he says. “Video, photography, editing, producing — I need to do it all and Adobe Firefly makes it easy to explore them all, so I don’t have to choose.”

Unique storytelling powered by AI

Unlike many photographers, Robertson enjoys editing images more than he likes shooting them. Each time he takes to the streets, Robertson returns to his studio eager to experiment with Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro to make his photography and videos more impactful. That’s where the generative AI-powered design capabilities of Adobe Firefly make all the difference.

The first videos Robertson created with the help of Firefly weren’t just his most creative, they were his most impactful. For instance, a seven-second Instagram reel of street photography in Japan that Robertson created using a mix of Generative Fill in Adobe Photoshop and a unique approach to frame sequencing in Adobe Premiere Pro earned him millions of views and nearly doubled his followers overnight.

“It’s amazing what you can achieve with Firefly if you’re willing to edit video frame by frame. It makes my content so much more dynamic and visually impactful,” says Robertson. “Most importantly, the end result is totally unique while staying true to my style.”

Robertson’s style is instantly recognizable. His photos and videos have a soft, dreamy feel to them, often with a subject included in the shot for scale and perspective. He is also partial to symmetry, using Generative Fill to edit his images and make them look as clean as possible.

That includes the photos used in the reel below, another from Robertson’s visit to Japan. Using Generative Fill, he was able to remove entire crowds of people from his shots while keeping his main subject front and center. A process that would have previously required painstaking hours of editing took Robertson less than a minute to complete.

“Some street photographers still spurn AI, and I’ll admit using Firefly felt like cheating at first. But then I remembered the endgame, which is to create beautiful content that speaks to my audience” says Robertson. “Any technology that helps me do that is a welcome addition to my toolbox.”

Unedited image. Image source: Jayson Robertson.

Unedited image. Image source: Jayson Robertson.

Edited image. Image source: Jayson Robertson

Edited image. Image source: Jayson Robertson

Defying categorization at every turn

Robertson has high hopes for generative AI as the technology continues to evolve and improve the quality of his work. From Robertson’s experience, generative AI has the potential to open doors for people like himself who want to experiment with multiple mediums at once. And given the newness of this space, the community is learning and growing together in real time. Creators seek inspiration from each other and are pushing themselves forward in the process. See the range of work made possible by Firefly at the new Adobe community tab.

“Generative AI makes photography and video production feel less intimidating, which makes them accessible to more people, but it will never replace originality,” says Robertson. “Brands will always want unique, stylish content to reach their audience, and for that they need people with an equally unique vision to create that content.”

As for Adobe Firefly, Robertson has a personal wish list of features he would like to see released in the future. For instance, he would love to see a version of Generative Fill developed specifically for video editing to help with the creation of his cinematic features. But for now, he continues to be inspired by the ways generative AI allows him to keep exploring and defying categorization.

“Everyone should play around with Adobe Firefly at least once. There’s no way it won’t blow your mind”, says Robertson. “Once you start, the possibilities feel truly limitless.”

For more on Jayson, his story, and his portfolio, check out his website.

See what others are up to with Firefly, get inspired, or use their work as a starting point to remix your own creations at the new Firefly community tab.