Photographer Turns Down Award After AI-Generated Submission Wins


Some of you probably have some pretty strong feelings about artificial intelligence already, and, frankly, this next story is probably only going to reinforce those notions, one way or the other.

several silver and gold trophies on wooden surface
Several silver and gold trophies on wooden surface. Photo by Ariel

A recent winner in the Sony World Photography Award competition just refused his prize after telling judges that his award-winning masterpiece was actually an AI-generated photograph, the BBC reports.

German photographer Boris Eldagsen’s “Pseudomnesia: The Electrician” won the creative open category. He told the BBC that the submission and its subsequent win were intended to start a conversation around AI-generated artwork.

Of course, for their part, competition organizers claim that the photographer’s submission was treated as a genuine article and its evaluation but Eldagsen tells the BBC he wonders whether or not any of the judges were aware it was an AI creation.

In rejecting the award, Eldagsen said, “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.”

The image that won the award is a black-and-white picture showing two women of different ages. And, while it is a pretty good picture, subtle details, such as the fingernails and fingers themselves on the subject do not look natural and their appearance cannot be explained by light, or some kind of other physical phenomena. One thing that AI struggles with currently is rendering hands and fingers. This deficiency is on full display in this image somewhat if you look for it.

You can check it out here on the BBC website.

Any thoughts on this story are welcome in the comments below. Also, we would love to know what you think about AI generative technology in general.

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


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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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