Real photograph wins AI photography award, gets disqualified

Miles Astray, F L A M I N G O N E, 2024. Courtesy the artist

Photographer Miles Astray won the AI category of the 1839 Photography Awards with a real photograph he initially passed off as a AI-generated. The image, F L A M I N G O N E, features a standing flamingo’s head curled around itself.

Once Astray had revealed the photograph to be one he captured with a camera, his prize was withdrawn.

In a statement on his website, Astray explains, “With AI-generated content remodelling the digital landscape rapidly while sparking an ever-fiercer debate about its implications for the future of content and the creators behind it – from creatives like artists, journalists, and graphic designers to employees in all sorts of industries – I entered this actual photo into the AI category of 1839 Awards to prove that human-made content has not lost its relevance, that Mother Nature and her human interpreters can still beat the machine, and that creativity and emotion are more than just a string of digits.”

In 2023, Boris Eldagsen submitted an AI generated image to the World Photography Organization’s Sony World Photography Awards and won. He declined the award however, saying ‘AI images and photography should not compete with each other in an award like this.’

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