The Triumph of Rubbish: Constructing a Praxis of AI Experience

In response to several recent conversations regarding AI. This is a copy of a comment I left on a post discussing the idea that AI artists should not name their images “photographs”. While I’m not very much into labels and categories, I believe AI will eventually penetrate most creative activities. From writing texts, music scores to helping artists with more and more sophisticated algorithms in refining or simplifying their workflow. We already have witnessed Adobe embracing AI with its neural filters and new features, and now with Firefly. It’s a process that cannot be stopped or reversed. That said, photography is still a pretty self-explanatory notion, and whether we like it or not, is in danger of being pushed away from the mainstage by the surrogate forms of imagery created with AI. While us, mostly middle aged people are used to do – research, educate ourselves and furthermore produce images with the help of a camera, this paradigm is becoming slowly obsolete to younger people who actually LIVE their lives predominantly in front of screens and mobile devices. The huge popularity of avatars, AI generated profile pictures and alternative worlds is both fascinating and depressing. It speaks about a world of alienation and anxiety of reality. No one knows where this is going, but the ludicrous amount of boobs and muscles, fake faces and scenes that abound on our feeds in lieu of good old fashioned photos, is the sign that times are changing for good. I agree that AI art should be defined by distinctive terms, other than photography. On the other hand, as we’ve seen in comments here, as long as Gagosian or Sony give space on their walls/in their competitions to AI images next to photography, the damage is already done. One thing I’ve noticed is that AI communities/groups seem to be way more contentious than their (respectable) photography counterparts. I dare suspect it’s because everyone seems to be an expert in AI after 4-5 months, and thus the arguments are heated and often inane. To conclude, photography as an artistic and honest form is in no danger to disappear, but it will appeal to fewer people, just as painting or classical/jazz/instrumental music, etc. Young people live fast and they need to be constantly challenged visually and emotionally. Reels and videos have outdone photos on IG and it’s better we accept this transition as a sign of changing times, but that won’t stop photographers from making, well .. photography.

Source – B&M Model Management

Also, my two cents: everyone is entitled to submit their work to a contest, be it good or questionable. Especially when there’s also a hefty fee involved. The problem of the awards is the JURY, who are in charge of selecting the winning pieces. I looked on their site, many of the awarded images/series are AI generated, but some are rather appalling. So I’m not surprised this is the winner. Below, the image the “fine art photographer” most likely used for her winning set.

Source: B&M Model Management

Below, a text in Romanian on the same topic.

Să vorbim din nou despre AI. Această domniță, pe numele ei Cheraine Collette, a câștigat marele premiu în concursul Fine Art Photography Awards (o să dau link în comentarii). Acum, să ne lămurim. Concursurile foto sunt de ani de zile un mod abil de a stoarce de bani de la fotografi mai degrabă amatori, sub umbrela gâdilării egoului prin promisiunea unor expoziții adesea slăbuțe, sau includerea în antologii de fotografie pe care le cumpără tot aceiași fotografi care sunt incluși în volum. Este o schemă ieftină de a face bani pe seama vanității și credulității celor care mai cred că fotografia este despre întrecere, ca un fel de cros al tineretului.

Astea fiind spuse, rezultatul concursului din acest an este dezamăgitor nu numai deontologic, ci și sub aspectul mai grav al încălcării flagrante a legilor de copyright. Cheraine afirmă că da, imaginile ei sunt ajutate de AI (în mod evident sunt 100% AI,dar să nu ne oprim la he said/she said), însă că fotografiile care stau la baza compozițiilor îi aparțin. Am făcut research fix 5 minute până am găsit imaginile pe care le-a folosit, și care au fost realizate de o agenție de fotomodele, neavând nicio legătură cu Colette a noastră. Întrebarea mea este cum e posibil ca nimeni din juriu să nu fi reacționat barem din politețe la comentariile și reproșurile pe care diverși fotografi le-au adresat pe pagina lor de Insta sau Fb? Când și unde (if ever) se va opri această consacrare a furtului prin premii și distincții?

  1. the real rubbish. yesterday i wrote the text for my blog post and thought about AI. Is it able to create the same joy of expressions i photographed during this procession in the northern area of Ethiopia. Nothing can replace the real happiness and the joy of photographing the real emotions and expression.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. totally agree, but a few years from now, because of AI, younger people will probably nor even know how wonderful this experience can be, and that I think is very disturbing.

      Liked by 1 person

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