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The AI ​​photo was awarded at the Sony World Photography Awards

Carelessness or deliberate choice, a sign of our times? The Sony World Photography Awards is the first high-profile photography competition to award works created with an artificial intelligence generator.

Everything is happening faster than we could have imagined until recently. Introduced on a large scale for the first time in the middle of last year, AI graphics generators are developing rapidly, and the images created with them already form a significant part of social media content. The first offices dealing with commercial use are created, and these creations are already being used in advertisements and are increasingly able to deceive the eye of the average recipient.

These types of “photographs” have already passed the notice of competition juries and are sometimes published by world championships such as Vogue. Artists using artificial intelligence generators, on the other hand, have already entered the salons of the most real art galleries. Now the organizers of the world’s largest photography competition have added a new brick to the current image of the market.

SWPA is the first major photography competition that rewards works created with an artificial intelligence generator

Today Sony World Photography Awards it became the first high-profile competition in history to reward an image created with an artificial intelligence generator. We are talking about a piece in the series that is stylized as an old photograph “Pseudomnesia | Electricity” German photographer and artist Boris Eldagsen (instagram.com/boriseldagsen/), which won the Creative category in this year’s Open section, awarding the best individual photos.

photo: Boris Eldagsen, from the series “Pseudomnesia | The Electricia”, 1st place in the Creative / Sony World Photography Awards 2023 category

Born in 1970, Eldagsen is a recognized multidisciplinary artist who often uses new media in his work. His work has been exhibited in galleries and festivals in several countries, and he is a long-time photography lecturer and member of the German Photographic Academy (Deutsche Fotografische Akademie).


A quick glance at the Photographer’s website or social media will immediately show that he has been relying on artificial intelligence generators for many of his activities lately. Until recently, the works he created in this way as part of the series “The Posthuman Condition” could even be seen in one of the galleries in Berlin. Therefore, it cannot be said that the jury chose this picture by chance. That’s why we asked the relevant parties for their comments. Their answers may not be what you expect.

“Artificial intelligence images are not photographs. By participating in competitions, I want to speed up the process in which we become aware of this difference”

“I have been photographing since 1989, a photo media artist since 2000. After two decades of meandering in the field of photography, my artistic attention has focused on discovering the creative possibilities of artificial intelligence generators. The work selected by SWPA is the result of a complex process – from building a basic order to advanced painting and exterior painting, based on my photographic knowledge.” – Boris Eldagsen comments on his work.

“For me, working with artificial intelligence generators is a kind of co-creation where I take on the role of director. It’s not just about pressing a button and getting a finished product. The idea is to explore the complexity of this process by starting with the fine-tuning of basic texts and then developing a complex way of working that combines different platforms and techniques. The more you pay attention to these processes and the better you define the appropriate parameters, the greater your creative participation in creating the final image.

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Sony World Photography Awards 2023 – Best single photos. Poles among the meritorious

The next stage of the SWPA 2023 competition is behind us. Here are the winners of the Open category. Although we did not make it to the podium this year, 7 Polish photographers were awarded in individual categories: Mariola Glajcar, Kinga Wnuk, Marcin Zając, Sandra Mickiewicz, Barbara Iwińska, Paweł Jagiełło and Mateusz Żurowski. [Czytaj więcej]

“I was the first in Germany to teach it by hand in the open online workshop promptwhispering.ai. I call the works made in this way ‘images’ because you have to remember that they are not photographs. They are synthetically produced images. , just using photography as a visual language.”

“By participating in open competitions in my work, I want to speed up the process in which the organizers understand this difference and create separate competitions for images produced by artificial intelligence. By giving public speeches and acting as a consultant for universities, magazines, agencies, festivals, museums and organizations, I see my role as an advocate for the transfer of knowledge,” concludes the photographer.

“Photography is constantly evolving. We can’t wait to see how new technologies will expand its impact.”

The CEO of the World Photography Organization responded in kind Scott Gray: “As a medium, photography has been at the forefront of media since the beginning. The constantly adapting and developing medium has a unique ability to change itself and push new boundaries.”

“We are also interested in photography as an art form, which is why we have creative categories at the Sony World Photography Awards, where creators have the opportunity to present their experiments and get to know the dynamics of this medium. Thanks to advances in technology, more and more people are getting involved in this type of creative activity, and we can’t wait to see how much this expands the reach and impact of photography.”

AI generators are just a tool. It’s up to you how well you use them

It would seem that with the official support of a well-known institution like the WPO, artificial intelligence images will become established in the world of photography, whether we like it or not. And while they won’t replace its main function for a long time, they certainly mark the next era (or at least trend) in digital art (which we can already see). So maybe instead of turning our noses up and saying no to photography, we should learn new tools and use them to our advantage? At the end of the day, as Eldagsen points out, it’s up to us how much influence we have on the appearance of things created this way.

For more information on this year’s SWPA contest winners, visit worldphoto.org.

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