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Art & Culture

AI-Generated Art Sparks Controversy in Photography and Art Competitions

  • Craig Miller
  • |
  • April 20, 2023
  • |
  • 3 minute read
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AI-Generated Art Sparks Controversy in Photography and Art Competitions
Key Takeaways
  • Artist Boris Eldagsen declined an award at the Sony World Photography Awards for his AI-generated artwork "The Electrician" and called for an open discussion on what should be considered photography.
  • The Colorado State Fair's art competition sparked a debate on social media over the role of AI in creative fields after Jason Allen won first place in the digital category with a work created using the text-to-image AI generator Midjourney.
  • The incidents raise questions about the boundaries between AI-generated art and traditional photography and art, and highlight the need for an open dialogue about the potential impact of AI on creative professions.
  • To better accommodate the evolving landscape of art and photography, competitions may consider introducing AI-specific categories or guidelines in the future.

 

Boris Eldagsen recently declined an award at the Sony World Photography Awards, hosted by the World Photography Organization, for his AI-generated piece titled “The Electrician.”

The artwork, part of a series called “Pseudomnesia,” was created using inpainting, outpainting, and prompt whispering techniques.

Eldagsen argued that AI images and photography should not compete with each other in an award like this, as they are different entities, and called for an open discussion on what should be considered photography.

The World Photography Organization expressed disappointment in Eldagsen’s actions, removing him from the competition and suspending their activities with him.

The organization recognizes the importance of the subject and its impact on image-making today, and plans to further explore the topic through their various channels and programs.

The World Photography Organization expressed disappointment in Eldagsen’s actions, removing him from the competition and suspending their activities with him.

AI Art Sparks Debate at Colorado State Fair

A similar controversy took place last August at the Colorado State Fair’s art competition when Jason Allen, a game designer, won first place in the digital category with a work created using the text-to-image AI generator Midjourney.

The incident sparked a debate on social media, with artists expressing concern for their livelihoods as creative work becomes more susceptible to AI-driven automation.

Allen defended his decision to enter the competition, stating that he wanted to make a statement using artificial intelligence artwork and felt accomplished in doing so.

He submitted three works created with Midjourney, pricing each at $750, which he believed was commensurate with the time it took to create them.

Allen’s winning piece, “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial,” features three figures in a gilded room with a large circular window overlooking a distant landscape.

The Future of AI in Art Competitions

As AI-generated art gains prominence in competitions, it raises questions about the role of artificial intelligence in creative fields.

While some argue that AI-generated works are separate from traditional photography and art, others believe that they are part of the same creative spectrum.

These incidents highlight the need for an open dialogue about the boundaries between AI-generated art and traditional photography, as well as the potential impact of AI on creative professions.

To better accommodate the evolving landscape of art and photography, competitions like the Sony World Photography Awards and the Colorado State Fair may consider introducing AI-specific categories or guidelines in the future.

This would ensure that AI-generated works are recognized for their innovation and creativity, while still maintaining a distinction between them and traditional artistic mediums.

Craig Miller

Craig Miller

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