World-First AI Art Contest Prompts “Photo versus Image” Discussion


Have you ever wondered what the difference between a photograph and AI imagery is?

assorted-color paintbrushes
Assorted-color paintbrushes. Photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist

If you answered “no,” you’re probably in the vast majority of our readership but, apparently, there are corners of the globe where this is an actual debate.

Or, at least, the discussion around what separates a photograph from an AI-generated digital image was at the fore in the world’s first AI art contest.

Swedish artist Annika Nordenskiöld’s AI-generated image of two sisters holding an octopus won the top prize at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale in the artificial intelligence art category, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The winner used the AI program Midjourney to create the images, telling the paper, “Many people say my pictures make them uncomfortable … When I explain that AI creates them as a kind of collage… many laugh, others are distressed and find them disgusting.”

The article then goes on to describe a phenomenon called “promptography,” contrasting this to photography via reference to the text-based prompts used to generate AI images on some platforms.

But discussing the difference between AI work and a photograph really isn’t the hot issue right now. That would be the question “How did we get here?” and that was through training AI platforms using the works of photographers with or without their permission in some cases.

As we have covered here, there are lawsuits across the board asserting copyright infringement, among other things. Perhaps it isn’t that AI imagery scares photographers because it is so uncannily real or what have you; rather, it scares them because many of these tools were developed using the collective works of the community it seeks to displace and relegate to obsolescence. The debate over art is less tangible than the prospect of not having a job, in other words.

Any thoughts on the AI revolution are welcome below in the comments.

We have some other photography headlines at this link for you to read.

[The Sydney Morning Herald]

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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