Photographer Disqualified From AI Image Competition After Winning With Real Photo

The incident involving photographer Miles Astray at the 1839 Photography Awards underscores the ongoing tensions between traditional and AI-generated art.

Astray’s real photograph of a flamingo, titled “F L A M I N G O N E,” was initially awarded first place in the AI category of the People’s Vote Award and third place in the juried prizes. His intent was to highlight the enduring relevance and emotional depth of human-made art amidst the rise of AI-generated content.

Courtesy: Artist

Upon discovering that the photograph was not AI-generated, the contest organizers disqualified Astray and removed his work from the website, emphasizing the need for adherence to category criteria to ensure fair competition.

“Each category has distinct criteria that entrants’ images must meet,” the competition’s organizers told PetaPixel. “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.”

Despite this, Astray considered the outcome a victory for human creativity and hoped it would spark broader recognition of the value of human-made art.

“I hope that winning over both the jury and the public with this picture, was not just a win for me but for many creatives out there. I won’t go as far as to say that it’s a win for Mother Nature herself because I think she’s got bigger things on her plate; who knows, maybe AI can help her with that, by computing climate change models and the likes,” he wrote on his website.

This event parallels the case of artist Boris Eldagsen, who won a prestigious photography award in 2023 with an AI-assisted image but declined the prize, advocating for separate categories for AI and traditional photography.

Both incidents highlight the complexities and ethical considerations in the intersection of AI and artistic expression.

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