I am very happy that I won the creative category of Sony World Photography Awards 2023 / Open Competition / Single Image.
I have been photographing since 1989, been a photomedia artist since 2000. After decades of photography, my artistic focus has shifted to exploring the creative possibilities of AI generators.
The work SWPA has chosen is the result of a complex interplay of prompt engineering, inpainting and outpainting that draws on my wealth of photographic knowledge. For me, working with AI image generators is a co-creation, in which I am the director. It is not about pressing a button – and done it is. It is about exploring the complexity of this process, starting with refining text prompts, then developing a complex workflow, and mixing various platforms and techniques. The more you create such a workflow and define parameters, the higher your creative part becomes.
I have been the first in Germany to teach this as a craft in open online workshops: www.promptwhispering.ai
I call my images “images”. They are synthetically produced, using “the photographic” as a visual language. They are not “photographs”.
Participating in open calls, I want to speed up the process of the Award organisers to become aware of this difference and create separate competitions for AI-generated images.
Doing public talks and being a consultant for universities, magazines, agencies, festivals, museums, and organisations, I see my role as a practitioner of knowledge transfer. As the ‘Head of Digital’ of @DeutscheFotografischeAkademie, I am a member of the AI work group of Deutscher Fotorat, in which the German photo associations discuss the chances and risks of this disruptive technology at large.
See the THE WINNING IMAGE on my webpage, link in bio!
THE ELECTRICIAN, from the series PSEUDOMNESIA, courtesy of @photo.edition.berlin.
AI image wins Creative category
The World Photography Organization has announced the category winners and shortlisted candidates in the 2023 Sony World Photography Awards open competition. The winner of the Creative category is Boris Eldagsen with his AI-generated image “PSEUDOMNESIA | The Electrician,” a haunting black-and-white portrait of two women that recalls the visual language of 1940s family portraits.
Photo Self Portrait with Stable Diffusion
Boris Eldagsen (*1970) is a photographic artist and is considered one of the leading AI experts in the German photography scene. His synthetic images currently generated with artificial intelligence (AI) are created in dialogue, whereby the artist makes no distinction whether this takes place between him and other artists or an artificial intelligence.
The Open Competition awards outstanding individual images in ten (10) categories. The jurors look for good composition, creativity and visual language. The juror for this year’s SWPA Open Competition was Eric Schlosser, currently Art Director of the Tbilisi Art Fair, Georgia. He also advises contemporary art and photography collections and regularly participates in other art juries.
As with many other recent photography competitions, the SWPA entry requirements are silent on whether AI-generated images are generally accepted or excluded. Images submitted to SWPA need only have been created in 2022. Accordingly, the decision of the jurors and the World Photography Organization is final and there will be no discussion about their decision, which seems to be inevitable in the specific case, because in connection with AI-generated images, questions of authorship and copyright, among others, arise. It therefore remains to be seen whether Eldagsen’s contribution will be subsequently disqualified or whether the WPO will set a precedent in favor of AI-generated images.