AI Photo Contest Winner Disqualified Over Real Picture Of Flamingo
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AI Photo Contest Winner Disqualified Over Real Picture Of Flamingo

AI Photo Contest Winner Disqualified Over Real Picture Of Flamingo

The pic was entered by Miles Astray into the prestigious 1839 Awards.

A photographer whose photo of a flamingo won a competition for Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated images has been disqualified because the picture was genuine. According to The Guardian, the image was entered by photographer Miles Astray into the prestigious 1839 Awards, a competition which attracts entries from some of the world’s leading photographers. The striking photo called “Flamingone” convinced a panel of judges to award Ms Astray third place in the “AI generated” category of the contest. However, after it was found that AI had nothing to do with Mr Astray’s photo, he was stripped of his award. 

According to The Guardian, Mr Astray said that he was motivated to break the rules after seeing recent instances of AI-generated imagery outshining actual photos in competitions. “It occurred to me that I could twist this story inside down and upside out the way only a human could and would, by submitting a real photo into an AI competition,” he explained on his website

“My work F L A M I N G O N E was the perfect candidate because it’s a surreal and almost unimaginable shot, and yet completely natural. It is the first real photo to win an AI award,” Mr Astray added.

He further admitted ethical concerns. However, he said he had no qualms about reversing the narrative. “I was hoping that these industry professionals and also the audience would find that this jab at AI and its ethical implications outweighs the ethical implications of deceiving the viewer, which, of course, is ironic because that is what AI does,” he said. 

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On the other hand, the competition’s organisers said that Mr Astray had a “powerful message” but the photo’s entry was nonetheless unfair. “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. We hope this will bring awareness (and a message of hope) to other photographers worried about AI,” the organisers said in a statement. 

Separately, Lily Fierman, the director of Creative Resource Collective, which ran the contest said there were “no hard feelings” and that Mr Astray’s flamingo would be the starting point for a discussion on the use of AI.