Artificial Intelligence or AI for short is taking the debate air-waves like a fire-storm! Frankly I never claim to be an expert at anything, and this subject is one I'm pretty new with. So far? It's so new with its impact, I personally think that all the "scared" folk out there are creating quite a stir.
I've researched it some, I'll be researching it more in depth with the coming months.
Is AI Going to Kill Photography?
Frankly I doubt it. I think the human touch still needs to be there, in order to create meaningful art. Will it change Photography? Yes it will, it already has. But has that been a bad thing? The jury is still out on that one. However in Photoshop, content aware fill has assisted all of us. Is that bad? It could be I guess.
Making selections in Photoshop used to be painstaking! It required a lot of skill and practice. With AI selecting the sky and/or the foreground, is now pretty much a piece of cake. It can even the select the subject of the image! Is it perfect? No, not always so that human element still needs to attend to that function. Will it be better in the future? Probably, yes! Good! Save me some time I can not buy!
Change Has Always Had It's Ups and Downs!
I personally remember, not too long ago, being dragged kicking and screaming into Digital Photography! Would I go back to film now? No not at all! I love being able to change ISO every image if I wish. Along with some other things, film no longer does it for me. If I could still wet darkroom an image to print, I might mess with film once in a while. But as long as I need to scan everything into a computer anyway? I personally do not see the need.
What About Fake Images?
Fake images are not really new. Yes even in the film days fake images were there. Currently? Most everyone you talk to now a days thinks everything is "photoshopped." This part has really hurt my feelings on occasion.
Man! I worked my butt off to capture that Image in Camera, and you still think it's fake? Simply because you never waited till the light was just right, and the scene before you unfolded right in front of your eyes, doesn't mean those dedicated Photographers out there faked it!
Nobody ever told Ansel Adams or any of the past masters, "you dark-roomed that image."
Now the Image below is a fake. A very good composite, but a huge fake. However, it wound up on the cover of Nevada Magazine! Surprised the crap outta me! The Photographer maintains he used a special lens, (70-200 @ 144mm) and special techniques. But trust me this image is a big time Photoshop composite.
Am I worried about being sued? Nope! Simply show me the raw, and I'll gladly retract my statement. The real problem with the image? If you've never been to the location you would never know. This is the key reason I was surprised Nevada Magazine used it. That Mountain Range is from somewhere else. Snow? Nope!
The real problem with this Image? It has impact so it's well liked, and it's fake. Fake from AI? No I doubt it, but it's really good Photoshop Composite. Is it art? Sure! like I said the guy did a decent job creating a composite with impact.
This next image is a real vs AI generated image. I've seen some very good portraits created by AI. This isn't one of them.
A Very Good AI Image!
The following image was created using AI by well known Photographer Jim Zuckerman. I really respect Jim's work. Jim travels the world looking for very specific elements to Photograph. Jim has placed many images he's created using AI on his Facebook page. This is one of them...
Now the above image is really good! I can see how it could be used in many ways. Can we tell it's a fake? Maybe, but there are actually images out there that even very experienced Photographers like Peter McKinnon can be fooled by. Now Peter is a pretty celebrated Photographer and YouTuber. Is he the only one? Of course not. I'm simply using this as an example.
So What's my Verdict?
AI is not the only run-a-way train we've had to deal within the past decade. Are you going to rush out and sell all of your gear now? Just because someone with zero Photographic training can input some prompts into a computer program and create the "perfect image?"
Siri is Artificial Intelligence. So is Alexa on the Android platform. I like Siri. She's helpful when I'm in a strange place and need turn by turn directions. If she recognized my deep voice better, I'd have to type less.
I personally enjoy the entire process of concept, to composition, to edit, to print my images, and the final and best compliment of all... someone buying that Image to place upon their walls for eternity. I love the wind in my hair. I love teaching others what I see and then watching what they create on the same day. Artificial Intelligence can NOT replace that!
In my humble opinion I think AI is going to help bring back the "total experience." Since Covid we've all noticed that service and selection have become lost words as a consumer. In my humble opinion I think people are going to want more of the "real thing."
Why? Because it's hard to fake passion. It's hard to fake story. And it's hard to fake being in that special moment and going click! You know you got it! It wasn't easy. You had to travel. You had to endure weather conditions. You were alive in the moment, and the viewer of your image can feel that! When something is too perfect we also feel that, and we do not like that anywhere near as much.
AI Is Here To Stay!
Yup! I said AI is here to stay! There's nothing you can do to stop it. SO??? Embrace it!! Make it work for you somehow! I'm currently researching exactly that. How can I use AI to assist me rather than let it "beat me?" I do not currently know as much about the subject as I'd like, so I'm in educational mode with it.
I do know this for certain. Paradigm shifts are permanent. Anyone in history that failed to keep up with the paradigm shift, was left behind. I hope you'll join me in making sure we move forward!
Now if Siri can learn to take me out in the middle of nowhere,... help me set up and compose the image in my mind without telling her,... take me back to my RV that night and tuck me in with a soft, warm, wet kiss that I can feel down to my toes? I'm pretty sure I'll reassess the situation.
Until then? I'm all in on learning to use the tools at my disposal with an open mind. Thanks for reading!
There's still time to sign up for my super cool Infrared Class this Thursday! Infrared Photographs are something AI has trouble with! ^_^
There still time to sign up for my PhotoSafari where you can use MY gear!