Artificial Intelligence

Winner of Sony World Photography Award 2023 admits AI use

19th April 2023
Harry Fowle

In a surprising revelation, a winner at the Sony World Photography Award 2023 has admitted to using AI in the creation of their award-winning photograph.

The admission has sparked a debate among photography purists who argue that the use of AI in photography is cheating, while others argue that AI is a tool like any other and should be embraced by artists.

The Sony World Photography Award is one of the most prolific photography competitions, with thousands of entries from photographers all over the globe. The winner of the 2023 competition creative open category award, German artist Boris Eldagsen, submitted an entry entitled ‘Pseudomnesia: The Electrician,’ an image using the visual language of the 1940s depicting two women from different generations looking into the distance.

Eldagsen used the image as a method to test the integrity of the competition and to spark a discussion about the future of photography as a whole.

After declining the award, Eldagsen took to his website in which he commented that he had been a “cheeky monkey,” and mockingly thanked the judges for “selecting my image and making this a historic moment.

“AI images and photography should not compete with each other in an award like this. They are different entities. AI is not photography. Therefore, I will not accept the award,” he went on to say.

How does it work?

AI generates these artistic pieces by using algorithms that learn from a large dataset of images. These algorithms are typically based on deep neural networks, which are designed to simulate the way the human brain processes information.

To generate art, the AI system first analyses the input data and identifies patterns and features that are common across the dataset. It then uses this knowledge to create new content that is similar to the input data but with its own unique variations, being prompted by text given by its user.

For example, an AI system designed to generate paintings might analyse a dataset of thousands of paintings from different artists and identify common elements such as colour palettes, brush strokes, and composition. It can then use this knowledge to generate new paintings that incorporate these elements in unique ways.

What does this mean for photography?

The admission, and its success at such a high-level competition, have once again sparked debate among photographers and photography enthusiasts. Some argue that the use of AI in photography is cheating, as it allows photographers to create images that they could not create on their own. They argue that photography should be about capturing reality as it is and that the use of AI takes away from the authenticity of the art form.

Others argue that AI is simply another tool that photographers can use to enhance their work. They point out that photographers have been using tools like filters and Photoshop for years to manipulate their images, and that AI is no different. They argue that the use of AI can help photographers achieve their creative vision and that it should be embraced as a legitimate tool for artistic expression.

Despite the debate, it is clear that AI is becoming an increasingly important tool for photographers. With AI technology improving rapidly, it is likely that more and more photographers will turn to AI to enhance their work. Whether or not this is a good thing for the art of photography remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: AI is here to stay, and it will continue to play an increasingly important role in the world of photography.

Find the controversial image here: Sony World Photography Awards 2023 | boris eldagsen

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