Ai : Artistic Breakthrough or Creative Threat?

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Ai : Artistic Breakthrough or Creative Threat?

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(@nadiadowniegmail-com)
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What’s your thoughts on how AI-driven editing tools are revolutionizing post-processing, offering photographers unprecedented creative possibilities while also sparking debates about authenticity and artistic integrity. Whether you're a seasoned professional or an amateur enthusiast, this dialogue invites you to ponder the profound implications AI has on the future of photography,….Is AI-generated photography a groundbreaking art form, or does it threaten the essence of human creativity? Does its ability to create compelling images diminish the value of traditional photography techniques? ....Lets discuss!

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(@talasemese)
Joined: 3 years ago

This pic won? Oh my .... it's a threat, but photography will remain

 

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(@althorp)
Joined: 2 years ago

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@talasemese maybe it's me but it's a pretty banal photo. I'm more shocked by the judges. 🙂

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Customer
(@chris-gadney)
Joined: 9 months ago

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@althorp Agreed! I'm amazed they didn't ask for any raw files or substantiate the work in some way

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(@foto-8194)
Joined: 1 year ago
Here are some of my thoughts about AI "photography". Firstly, it's not photography, it's computer-generated photorealistic illustration. Or CGI, if you prefer. Secondly, photographers are always declaring, it's not about the equipment, it's about the image. Now we have a problem because the AI images aren't created with the right equipment, i.e. cameras. Often, AI images would be near impossible to create with a camera and without some serious computer-aided retouching, and budget. The trouble is, as photographers we did not create the AI monster, but we have been feeding it for years with every image we have posted online, and now that monster has grown and turned on us. It is literally biting the hand that fed it.
 
I've been a photographer for a bit over 50 years. Not as a professional but as an occasionally paid amateur. I made my living as a graphic designer. Although I initially trained in more traditional, analogue methods, I was a very early adopter of DTP and Macs. I could see it was the way forward. But as the years passed and computers and software became more sophisticated, making it easier to create the graphic artwork, everyone started thinking they could do it themselves and the quality of the work and what was acceptable dropped drastically along with our earnings. People stopped learning the craft. Digital photography is having the same effect. Because it is so easy and affordable to create a technically good photo (correctly exposed and in focus), everyone thought they were a photographer, without ever learning the craft. If you buy a "professional" camera, you must be a professional photographer. Now, with AI, they can be a "photographer" without even having to use a camera.
 
I still can't see AI being a huge threat to photography, except possibly to those who specialise in illustrative and conceptual "art" photography. For those of us at the more real-world, documentary/reportage end of the craft, it is less of an issue. What is does rely on is the integrity of the publications, whether in print or online, to use real photos, or to state if it is AI generated. Some editing or retouching is inevitable, and AI is increasingly being integrated into the process, but retouching has existed since the early days of photography. However, there was always the original negative or transparency to verify its authenticity. Nowadays we have RAW files serving the same purpose. 
 
Personally, as a graphic designer, I think that AI is very handy for conceptual work, especially doing pitch concepts for movies or television, because I don't have to find an concept illustrator and explain to them what I want and hope they get it right, and for them to have to spend even more days doing it again if they don't. If I can get the AI to quickly come up with the image I want, I can then give that to an illustrator or photographer to do final work in their style. 
 
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(@althorp)
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This is an interesting topic. In one sense. It's almost a moot point, AI generated art is here to stay and it's only going to get more convincing. 

I don't understand why people want to use AI to generate art in the first place though. The whole joy of photography is in the act of waiting in that cold wet hide for days on end to get that wildlife photo or roaming the city streets for that momentary flash of inspiration, or for my own work, patient macro photography where I learn more about the insects by looking at them closely. Or if I'm doing black and white sort of fine art city stuff then I'm enjoying the walk and the interaction with the people around me.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is photography is at least 50% the act of the photography and the other part being the actual product. It's sad that people care only about the finished result. The emotions, the struggles, the failures you learn from...  that's half the fun. 

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(@foto-8194)
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@althorp The mistake is when people call it art. Art is a term that gets bandied around too freely. Art comes with the mastery of a craft. Sure there are "the arts", but cooking can also be an art form. Even sports can reach the level of art. In Chinese, kung fu commonly refers to a style of martial art, but it is actually the mastery of anything, such as pottery or calligraphy, and including any style of martial art (there's that word again). Maybe at some time in the not too distant future people will have a mastery over the prompts needed to achieve a particular image, but that is not much different to a client giving a photographer a very precise brief and the photographer delivering precisely that image. We certainly wouldn't call the client the artist in that case. We are certainly living in interesting times.

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(@jeff-6289)
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@althorp Photography for enthusiasts might be for the joy of it, but for commercial work, for advertising, illustration, marketing, and other commercial purposes, it doesn't matter if photographers get joy from it. Companies aren't going to pay thousands of dollars to a photography or videography company or design firm once AI gets to the point where an unpaid intern can generate ten ad campaigns using AI in a few minutes, and it will get to that point. This isn't just an impact on professionals either, without the revenue streams from professionals it will shrink the photo/video equipment even further, making more and more equipment manufacturers to exit the business.

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(@chris-gadney)
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@jeff-6289 That's very true, however, what you don't get is the interpretation of an idea... and before you say the intern can input the ideas, what comes out the other end is the software's interpretation, not a human one. there is something fundamentally wrong with the world when we rely on a computer to generate ideas for us, there lies the slippery road! It's very much akin to CD's vs vinyl records and digital photography being the death of film..... How wrong the industry was and is! The younger generation are very much into vinyl and film isn't dead..... there are even more flavours available now than ever before. There are commercial photographers who only shoot on film and they are employed by companies for national and international campaigns... photography is here to stay, we use AI every day to edit our photos, crikey! the Ansel Adams photo Winter Sunrise from Lone Pine, didn't even represent the actual scene he photographed... he had an idea of what he wanted to create and that's what he did and he used editing methods available to him, to create it. 

Is photography dead? no, however AI is a threat, in the sense of making us lazy and like anything, it's only a real threat if we let it become one. 

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(@jeff-6289)
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@chris-gadney You misunderstood me. I wasn't saying that I thought the intern creating an ad campaign was a good thing, quite the opposite. An no, photography isn't dead, yet. But it's getting there. It's already, as an industry, about the worst it's ever been, and AI has barely gotten started. It's already replacing photographers and it's already winning photo contests. It won't matter if a few very wealthy companies would still prefer to hire photographers. If there are only a few large companies willing to do that there won't be enough work for photographers to keep the industry alive.

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(@laura-3282)
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Photography begins with what the human eye does and does not see. My first photo class was almost 50 years ago, pre-digital era. For an assignment, I took this random photo of an antique bureau in a dark room. When I developed the film I was astounded to see that the bureau was covered with beautiful carvings. The light was so low in the room, the carvings were not visible to the naked eye. Photo technology has enabled us to go so much farther over the decades, so much so that we are now able to capture clear images of distant objects in space. When we use Photoshop today, including the AI enhancement tools, we are essentially accomplishing what the darkroom chemicals accomplished for my poorly lit photo years ago. With all that said, I think that using AI to expand our natural vision is no different. Using AI to create original images is just another form of art. However, using AI to replace the human eye of photographers and the real time images we capture everyday all day is a ridiculous ambition, just as the ambition of "writing like Shakespeare" is ridiculous. Anyone producing art knows that the outcome comes uniquely from within ourselves, our individual imaginations, experiences, emotions, and visions. The work ahead, beyond transforming AI into a tool of art, is in my mind more legal. Just as with the actors and writers in Hollywood, photographers need to protect copyrights and rights to work. I don't find AI threatening because I work in tech and know it's limitations. "Power to the people," in other words. 

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(@bobcote1)
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If it is not originally created by someone using a Camera it is not photography.  That being said, the use of digital darkroom tools to remove distractions of modify the basic image is part of the normal photography process and it go back to the origins of photography.  If this image did not involve a camera it is not photography and should not have been entered into and win a photography contest.

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(@jeff-6289)
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@bobcote1 The artist (Boris Eldagsen) who entered it into the competition did it to illustrate the issues surrounding AI generated images. He wanted to see if the competition had systems in place to determine if images were AI generated and he was the one that revealed what he did. He stated that it shouldn't have won and he didn't accept the award. He is not the only artist to do this, there was another major photo contest in Australia that was also won by an AI image and the artists involved also revealed it was AI.

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(@rob-fischer)
Joined: 5 months ago

Photography, in my opinion, is supposed to a vehicle by which we can remember what we saw or experienced and be able to share with others at a later time - all in an artful way. My photography is what I wish to remember, and what I want to share. I have seen photographers shoot a seascape at dawn using RAW and manipulate the image in post to such an extent that the scene has become surreal and untrue. Is this not the same as AI and why has there not been a furor over shooting and manipulating in RAW?

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(@danielsussmanvisuals)
Joined: 3 years ago

Are we asking the right question?  No.  Obviously not.  The nature or definition of what it means to be a person is changing radically.  Biological evolution is being replaced by technological evolution, and this will change EVERYTHING (including photography).  Including us. 

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(@yishaix57)
Joined: 6 months ago

Look.  One fact is that there are two transformative events happening in this society at the same time.  One is the ongoing dominance technology is having in every part of our lives and this is approaching a profound moment in relation to AI.  The second change, and this is indicative of the Trump phenomena, is a fundamental breakdown of parts of society that have been taken for granted.  We are at risk of ending democracy.  Now why am I discussing such an obvious political issue in a forum regarding photography?  

The direct relevance is that as technology becomes more and more dominant our ability to relate to each other in any sustainable healthy process is rapidly deteriorating.

I do not care about the technical definition of art.  It is, and has always been, a means of humanizing both the artist and the audience.  This is true for the poet and those who read poetry. This is true for the painter and those who admire paintings.  And this has certainly true for the photographer and those who appreciate photographs.

 

It is no longer true for photography, and this is a crisis. It is no longer true because on of the essential humanizing components of art was the actual work that was involved in it's creation.

 

Making art made a demand on the soul/spirit of the artist and this inevitably impacted the audience.

When I can edit a photo in 2 minutes  using presets and basically avoid hours in the dark room something vital is now being taken out of the equation.

To be more specific, I do not believe there is something inherently problematic about presets, for example.  But when certain aspect of the creative process become easier due to technology then this gives the artist an opportunity to then deepen their artistic vision and effort in other ways.

But that is not happening.  It is not  happening because the creative process is hard and it is supposed to be hard because it is supposed to involve deep issues of one's psyche, soul, spirit, culture, mind and identity.  

What I am getting at is if one was willing to spend hours in a dark room then that decision was only made when there were core, fundamental deep values involved in the artist work.  

It is blatantly obvious that smartphones, iphones, laptops....are  contributing more to dehumanization then humanization  

AI will only make this fire become an inferno.  

 

 

 

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Customer
(@maurilioguerini)
Joined: 1 year ago

when I saw this image for the first time, calling it a photograph is an insult, I wondered how it could have come to be judged...

I had seen that it was fake even before I read the article

Just look at the arm that appears to the right of the image to understand that it is fake

How can a left arm have a thumb instead of a little finger?

Maurilio

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(@christy_rey)
Joined: 4 years ago

It took a long time for photography to be recognized as a form of art but today it's recognized in fine art, documentary, journalism, and with many subcategories like street, portrait and so on. We adjusted to the shift from vintage (and what we now call alternative) processes to film and then to digital so it makes sense that the next evolution is AI. This just makes a new category of photography that a photographer ( a human being) can work with to create art. AI requires a human to feed into the software program requirements and parameters. I still use my large format film camera, my medium format and 35mm cameras even though I also use my digital cameras too. And I use alternative processes in my work and in fact just received the 22nd Julia Maragret Cameron Award Winner in the Alternative Processes Category (2024). AI is a new and exciting photography media and a photography tool to be used by humans. Viva! Photography is Alive in vintage processes, film, digital, ai and will never die!!!!!!!!

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