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April 19, 2023

Winner refuses award after revealing AI creation for Sony World Photography Award 2023

Prize-winning photography created by artificial intelligence

Earlier this year, the World Photography Organisation announced the winners of this year's Sony World Photography Awards, among which "PSEUDOMNESIA: The Electricia" stood out. The image by Boris Eldagsen was a favorite in the Creative category. Within Sony's press release, the company describes the image as "a haunting black-and-white portrait of two women from different generations, reminiscent of the visual language of 1940s family portraits".

It is likely that the AI intervention would go unnoticed if it were not for the German artist Boris Eldagsen revealing on his personal website that the work was generated by artificial intelligence. Through this action, the artist aims to raise awareness about the impact of AI on the photography field. Boris Eldagsen publicly refused the award but also outlined his perspective on AI in photography and content creation.

“I applied as a cheeky monkey, to find out if the competitions are prepared for AI images to enter. They are not,”

- outlines on his website, Boris Eldagsen.

“We, the photo world, need an open discussion. A discussion about what we want to consider photography and what not. Is the umbrella of photography large enough to invite AI images to enter—or would this be a mistake? With my refusal of the award I hope to speed up this debate.”

The 'photo' in question. Would you be able to tell this is not a real photograph?

According to a spokesperson from the World Photography Organisation, the judges were aware that AI technology was used in the image, but they believed it was a collaboration between the photographer and the AI. According to them, Eldagsen intentionally misled them about the extent to which AI was involved in creating the image.

“The Creative category of the Open competition welcomes various experimental approaches to image making from cyanotypes and rayographs to cutting-edge digital practices,”

- outlines the World Photography Organisation's spokesperson.

“As such, following our correspondence with Boris and the warranties he provided, we felt that his entry fulfilled the criteria for this category, and we were supportive of his participation.”

As before, the fierce competition within the photography field posed the main obstacle for photography enthusiasts. Now AI has entered the field, the impacts are difficult to predict and have yet to be fully revealed. The potential impact of AI is undeniably huge.

Elitsa Kaleva
Elitsa Kaleva
Content Writer at TechNews180
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