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Artificial Intelligence

Images should be the product of your own work and not the work of others.

Discussing AI can be a knotty area. Part of the problem is that AI is a catchy marketing term and has for a long time been used in certain contexts, but is now being widely used for a different one.

  • There is AI which helps analyse and optimise an image or automate things that could be performed manually to make them easier (eg face detection, focus stacking, panorama stitching) - which is still photography.

  • There is AI which creates images from prompts -  which is not photography. Often the generated images are based in some way on other people's images from the training data set.

  • There is a tricky area in between.

We, as a club, are free to form our own rules and guidance on the matter. However, others will have differing views. In particular, images we see or that we enter into non-club competitions (including inter-club competitions like the Wessex Battle) might have differnt standards.

WCPF stated in May 2023 that "the original image(s) must have been taken using a photographic process and be the sole copyright of the Entrant. This includes all elements that are used to build the final image(s)."

However, generative AI (eg Adobe Fly, Stable Diffusion, etc) is not a photographic process. Applying the WCPF definition above, any image that contains any non-photographic elements ceases to be a photograph. The RPS talks about origination rather than copyright and allows some content generated by AI, but doesn't yet givie guidance on how much is too much. That's not to say it has no artistic merit, just that it no longer counts as a photograph.

PAGB considers (as of August 2023) that their General Conditions already exclude all images or parts of images which may have been created by others, including AI generator software:

  • Images must be entirely the work of the Photographer. In composite images, all component
    images must meet this requirement. For the avoidance of doubt, use of images from any other
    source including, but not limited to, royalty free image banks and clipart are not permitted.

FIAP and PSA are similarly aligned around the notion of plagiarism (passing off the work of others as one's own) without needing to refer to AI.

It gets more complex where generative AI is hidden from the photographer's view. For example, Photoshop's old content aware fill wasn't generative AI, but it's latest incarnation of that tool - generative fill - is generative AI. Thus the use of photoshop's generative fill may make an image inelligible for competitions and distinctions.

Increasingly, generative AI technologies are being built into cameras (especially on mobile phones). Where the photographer can't tell whether generative AI is in use or not, PAGB looks toward the intent of the photographer: "If the photographer has deliberately recruited content created from the examination of images of others then that would be unacceptable."

In summary then, submitted images should be your own work. Asking an AI to generate images or parts of images results in something that isn't your own work.


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