Photographer disqualified from AI image contest after winning with real photograph

A photographer has been disqualified from a photograph competition within the AI category after their real photograph took first place.

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Miles Astray entered into a top photo competition with his work titled "F L A M I N G O N E," which received honors from a high-profile jury that included members from the New York Times, Getty Images, Phaidon Press, and more. However, the artist was disqualified after he won the category.

F L A M I N G O N E by Miles Astray which won an AI image contest

F L A M I N G O N E by Miles Astray which won an AI image contest

Notably, the competition was under the category of Artificial Intelligence-generated photos, and Astray's real photograph has now been deemed the "first real photo to win an AI award". The reason behind the artist entering a real photograph into the AI category was to demonstrate that people are unable to tell the difference between an AI-generated image and a real photograph and the ethical and societal implications of the emerging technology.

This isn't the first time AI and real photograph has caused a stir in competions, as AI-generated photos have made international headlines for winning photo competitions, which they weren't meant to be competing in Probably the most infamous of these stories is when the Sony World Photography Awards awarded Boris Eldagsen a prize in the Creative category of the 2023 Open competition for his AI-generated image.

The Electrician by Boris Eldagsen

The Electrician by Boris Eldagsen

"Our contest categories are specifically defined to ensure fairness and clarity for all participants. Each category has distinct criteria that entrants' images must meet. His submission did not meet the requirements for the AI-generated image category. We understand that was the point, but we don't want to prevent other artists from their shot at winning in the AI category," said a spokesperson for the competition's organizers

"I wanted to prove that nature still outdoes the machine in terms of imagination, and that there is still merit in real work from real creatives," said Astray in an email to me

"I'm glad to see that this experiment confirmed my hypothesis: there is nothing more fantastic and creative than Mother Nature herself," said Miles Astray, who has no ambition to work with AI. "I don't demonize the new technology and see its potential, but currently I see its limitations and dangers even more clearly."

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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