A Chat about Photography

I decided to have a little “conversation” with GPTChat this morning. I have been seeing the term “post photography” a lot recently and it got me worried for the future of the art that I love and devote so much of my time to. Here is the transcript so you can read for yourself. And I’ll add a few thoughts:

What is photography?

Photography is the art and practice of capturing still images on a camera and preserving them as photographs. It involves capturing light and color information through various techniques, such as adjusting the focus, aperture, and exposure time, to create a visual representation of a scene or subject.

Can photography survive without humans?

No, photography cannot survive without humans as it is a human-created and human-dependent art form. While cameras and technology may continue to operate and take pictures without human intervention, the creation, interpretation, and enjoyment of photographs all rely on human participation. Photography is not just about capturing an image, but about the emotions, thoughts, and experiences that humans associate with those images.

What about ai photography?

AI photography refers to the use of artificial intelligence technology to enhance or automate various aspects of photography, such as image recognition, object detection, and image manipulation. While AI has the potential to revolutionise photography and bring new capabilities to the field, it still requires human input and interpretation, as AI algorithms are only capable of performing tasks that they have been trained to do and can only produce results within the bounds of their programming. Ultimately, the role of AI in photography is to augment and assist human photographers, rather than replace them entirely.

But people can’t tell the difference

It is true that with advancements in AI technology, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to tell the difference between photographs taken by humans and those generated or manipulated by AI algorithms. However, while AI may be able to imitate some aspects of human photography, it still lacks the creativity, emotion, and personal touch that makes human photography unique. Ultimately, whether people can tell the difference between human and AI-generated photos will depend on the sophistication of the AI algorithms and the discerning eye of the viewer. Nevertheless, human photography will continue to have value in capturing and preserving personal experiences, memories, and emotions that cannot be replicated by AI.

Should people state that a photograph was made using ai?

Yes, it is important for people to disclose if a photograph was generated or manipulated by AI. Transparency is crucial in any form of media to ensure that the audience understands the context and origin of the content they are viewing. In photography, it is particularly important as AI-generated images have the potential to deceive or mislead, especially if they are not clearly labeled as such. By stating that a photograph was made using AI, the creator or publisher can help the audience better understand the nature and limitations of the image, and avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.

How will we be able to tell if it is not disclosed?

It can be challenging to tell if a photograph was generated or manipulated by AI, especially if the AI algorithms are advanced and the manipulation is subtle. However, there are some indicators that can help identify an AI-generated photo, such as:

Lack of authenticity: AI-generated photos may have an artificial or stylised look that is different from photos taken by human photographers.

Perfection: AI-generated photos may lack the flaws and imperfections that are inherent to human photography, such as camera shake or depth-of-field blur.

Repetition: AI algorithms often generate multiple similar images, which can result in repeating patterns or identical objects in the background.

Inconsistencies: AI-generated photos may contain inconsistencies in lighting, shading, and other details that would not occur in real-life scenes.

However, these indicators are not always reliable, and it is still possible for AI-generated photos to be highly realistic and difficult to distinguish from human-taken photos. Therefore, disclosure by the creator or publisher is the most reliable way to ensure that the audience understands the origin of the image.

This is my addition to the chat

So my take away from this is that obviously as photographers we CARE whether the image is purely photography or not if it is being sold as such! Using ai as another tool is not the problem. I’ve seen some amazing photography enhanced with ai but I’ve also seen people trying to pass off ai generated images as photography. And that for me is the problem. We are not, as some people are starting to say “post photography”.

99% of people will not care one way or another but I think photographers do. And there’s the problem for me. We use tools such as photoshop to enhance images taken with our cameras. In the same way as we used to use darkrooms, different chemicals and different papers to create unique results but the end, a photograph is made by a person with a camera. Again using ai as a tool to enhance, blend, distort or add to photographs is NO problem. Unfortunately, I am seeing people creating “photographs” with ai and I think that should be disclosed. If you are passing off ai images as photography, then you’re just being dishonest.

What do you think?

Thank you for reading.

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