‘With my refusal of the award I hope to speed up this debate.’ A Prize-Winning “Photo” Was Actually Created By AI So A Photographer Could Prove A Point
by Trisha Leigh
You can’t trust anyone or anything these days, because apparently AI can create just about anything and make it look like a human did it (sort of).
In fact, I’m not sure this prize-winning photographer would ever have gotten caught had he not admitted the truth.
Boris Eldagsen recently won a prestigious award after entering a black-and-white portrait, but in the end, admitted it was created using an AI image generator.
He refused to accept the award, calling himself a “cheeky monkey” for entering in the first place.
Boris Eldagsen, the first artist to win an award for an AI generated image in a photography competition, refused to accept the award at the recent Sony World Photography Awards ceremony. pic.twitter.com/lHvY3d78Fa
— Michael Dooney (@MichaelDooney_) April 14, 2023
He says that he did so to see whether or not professional judges would be able to tell that the picture wasn’t created by a human being – and to spark debate in the process.
“With my refusal of the award I hope to speed up this debate. 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.”
There can be no doubt that this point that AI is here to stay, but what that means for human artists is still up for debate.
The US Copyright Office has ruled that AI-generated images shouldn’t be granted copyright protection, but whether or not Eldagsen’s attempt at sparking further debate will make a difference remains to be seen.
The organizers of the World Photography Organization (WPO) claim to have known all along that the winning photo was generated by AI, but they could just be trying to save face.
“In our correspondence, he explained how following ‘two decades of photography, my artistic focus has shifted more to exploring creative possibilities of AI generators’ and further emphasizing the image heavily relies on his ‘wealth of photographic knowledge.’ As per the rules of the competition, the photographers provide the warranties of their entry.”
Which is to say, they thought using AI fell within the contest’s parameters.
Eldagsen explained more on his Facebook page…
Since then, though, the WPO has severed ties with Eldagsen.
“While elements of AI practices are relevant in artistic contexts of image-making, the awards always have been and will continue to be a platform for championing the excellence and skill of photographers and artists working in the medium.”
So, where do we go from here?
I guess only time with tell.