Photographer Disqualified from Contest After Photo Proven Real

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Typically we cover stories about AI ripping off artists or photographers.

black and white robot toy on red wooden table
Black and white robot toy on red wooden table. Photo by Andrea De Santis

But we don’t often read about a photographer taking real pictures and submitting them as AI “art.”

Yet here we are as one entrepreneurial member of our larger photography community decided to demonstrate to the world that, yes, truth can be stranger – perhaps even more beautiful – than fiction.

Submitting a real photograph to the 1839 color photography art contest for the AI category, Miles Astray’s depiction of a flamingo won third place in the contest before being discovered for the real picture it is.

“I wanted to show that nature can still beat the machine and that there is still merit in real work from real creatives, After seeing recent instances of AI-generated imagery beating actual photos in competitions, I started thinking about turning the story and its implications around by submitting a real photo into an AI competition,” Astray told PetaPixel.

While cheeky, the contest did note the symbolism of the entry: “Each category has distinct criteria that entrants’ images must meet. His submission did not meet the requirements for the AI-generated image category. We understand that was the point, but we don’t want to prevent other artists from their shot at winning in the AI category. We hope this will bring awareness (and a message of hope) to other photographers worried about AI.”

Of course, art is one thing, a profession is another. The real concern about AI isn’t that it will win photography contests; the real concern is that it will kill photography in a broader, commercial sense. After all, what appeal will reality have when unreality can be summoned with a text prompt.

Any thoughts that you might have on AI “art” are welcome in the comments.

Check out some of our other photography news at this link right here.

About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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