Yes, it hurts when people ask me if my pictures are real or made by Artificial Intelligence. They sometimes mean it as a compliment, but still, that hurts. As if A.I. were capable of nicer pictures than what Mother Nature has to offer.
I like reality. Whatever that reality will show. So nature and wildlife pictures are ideal for me, as I am not really interested or particularly good at portrait or abstract photography.
I know there are more disciplines in photography, but I like to stick to the reality shows. I don’t replace my skies with something more “appealing” if the picture I took has a bland sky. If the picture is not usable, then nobody will see it.
Today’s A.I. is capable of replacing parts of an image with “something else” as if it had been there all along. The result of those pics is something that looks good, but is not natural. Of course it’s nice to change the dress of your model to something more appealing, but where are the limits?
Pink Lady’s Slipper orchid
Soon enough, decent models will find themselves on sites that will show them scantily clad in nothing more than revealing rags instead of the pictures they had been recorded in. Who will want that? The current A.I. engines have a “protection” against this type of manipulation, but heaven only knows that some smart people will find a way around it soon enough.
Blue Flag Iris
We can already generate real-looking pictures of people like here. You can get an endless number of people pictures that have been assembled from countless others. A.I. at the rescue for those looking for a headshot, but don’t want to shoot someone for it. None of it is real.
Give me back the beauty of reality .
A real wave
Nature photography doesn’t lie. Either it’s beautiful or horrible, but it is still nature. Nature will not always cooperate, for sure, but I still prefer a shot of a budding mushroom like this, as bland as it looks,
to a slimy, dripping mushroom with sad eyes as if begging for mercy or help. Or crickets with guns and armour.
So then I will hear people asking: “How about using A.I. to reduce noise? That’s also A.I.!”. Yes, it is and it isn’t. Reducing technical artefacts is different from generating something that wasn’t there in the first place.
Milky Way and light from Halifax
I cleaned up the noise from this picture, taken at 12,800 ISO using the A.I. Denoise in Lightroom. It didn’t add aliens, faces or objects to the picture, it just cleaned it up. If that is really A.I. or just a more clever way to market that algorithm for finding and eliminating noise, I can’t say. It’s easy to label something “intelligent” nowadays, even if it only reacts to current circumstances.
Even my car says it’s “intelligent all wheel drive”, but in what, I have no idea. Would that make my car smarter than me? I may hope not. Intelligence is what people have, or animals, in some cases. Inanimate objects have no intelligence and no abilities to create anything original. Computers are no different in that respect.
Creating an image of this kind is utterly impossible for A.I., even if some people don’t see anything different.
For me, A.I. is a helper tool, not a creational tool. So MY pictures are natural, real, and nothing more. If an object is in my picture, then it was there when I shot it.
Until next time…