Business News/ Technology / App News/  German photographer refuses prestigious Sony World Photography award 2023. Here's why

German photographer refuses prestigious Sony World Photography award 2023. Here's why

Boris Eldagsen suggested that the prize money be donated to a photo festival hosted in Odesa, Ukraine, adding that his act of using an AI image was to trigger and possibly speed up a debate of the usage of AI in the purviewopf photoraphy

The image that won the Sony World Photography Award 2023 in the 'Creative Open category'Premium
The image that won the Sony World Photography Award 2023 in the 'Creative Open category'

A German photographer who won the Sony World Photography Award 2023, has refused to accept the same, stating that he was being a ‘cheeky monkey’ and that he has generated the prize winning image using artificial intelligence (AI) in order to ‘spark a debate’. 

The photographer Boris Eldagsen refused to accept the SONY World Photography 2023 award. He had won the award in the creative open category. 

The winning photograph has two women possibly from two different generation. The black and white photo shows one leaning on the other, while the seemingly younger female in the front looks up. 

In a statement on his website, Eldagsen, who studied photography and visual arts at the Art Academy of Mainz, conceptual art and intermedia at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, and fine art at the Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication in Hyderabad, said he “applied as a cheeky monkey" to find out if competitions would be prepared for AI images to enter. “They are not," he added.

“We, the photo world, need an open discussion," said Eldagsen. “A discussion about what we want to consider photography and what not. Is the umbrella of photography large enough to invite AI images to enter – or would this be a mistake?

“With my refusal of the award I hope to speed up this debate."

He said this was a “historic moment" as it was the first time an AI image had won a prestigious international photography competition, adding: “How many of you knew or suspected that it was AI generated? Something about this doesn’t feel right, does it?

“AI images and photography should not compete with each other in an award like this. They are different entities. AI is not photography. Therefore I will not accept the award."

Eldagsen suggested donating the prize to a photo festival hosted in Odesa, Ukraine.

A spokesperson for the World Photography Organisation said Eldagsen had confirmed the “co-creation" of the image using AI to them before he was announced as the winner.

Images generated with AI tool Midjourney has taken the world by storm, and probably left them in utter confusion. 

From billionaires imagines in poorer settings, to grand-old senior skateboarding with ease, the essentially realistic images sure has taken internet on a rather bumpy ride. 

Freedom fighters taking a selfie to kings and rulers re-imagined, an AI tool has possibly blurred the boundary and rendered creativity ‘limitless’. 

The stunt comes at a time of intense debate over the use and implications of AI with some issuing apocalyptic warnings that the technology is on the brink of irreversibly damaging the human experience.

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Updated: 19 Apr 2023, 08:11 PM IST
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