Photographers tend to take two different sides on AI imagery. Some say that it’s not photography. Others embrace it and try to learn the technology to add to their skill sets. In our interviews on this website, we’ve discussed lots of different opinions that photographers have on AI. That’s the center of the latest Magnum Photos Square print sale being done in collaboration with the World Press Photo Organization. We spoke to photographer Anna Bedynska — who beautifully stated the difference between real documentary and AI imagery.
For this Square Print Sale, Magnum Photos and the World Press Photo Organization are taking a stand with real photographers to celebrate the difference between human photography and AI-generated imagery. You can support this mission with a purchase of a print at the Magnum Photo Shop.
“A documentary photograph encapsulates what someone has observed, contemplated, meticulously created, and redefined,” says photographer Anna Bedynska. “It is a synthesis of someone’s perspective point of view, a profound synthesis of thoughts, emotions, and creative choices. We enter a dialogue through photography between the photographer, the person photographed, and the viewer.” She continues to state that we combine a personal experience as a viewer when we document what’s in front of us. Ultimately, it’s not just about capturing the world as it happens — but also showing a unique perspective.
“Each camera click is an exploration, a deep dive into another person’s worldview, making the photograph a captivating tapestry of human perception and worldview. This process, this dance between creativity and reality, transforms an ordinary image into a captivating story that is a trustworthy reflection of a real and true story with which the viewer can identify. It is a fusion of different minds and points of view converging to create something unique, trustworthy, thought-provoking, and priceless. The process of searching for meaning and truth in documentary photography is a value in itself that AI is not likely to give.”Anna Bedynska
About the sale, the images in “Writing with Light” are some of the last moments a viewer might be sure is being created by a human being, according to Anna. Her image for the sale was shot with a Canon 5D Mk II — and it shows proof that a human being shot it. The photo itself has an almost ghostly and ethereal feel that makes me think of an AI-based world of some sort. Most importantly, it makes me feel something and I’m sure it will do the same for someone else.
Like many other photographers, Anna thinks that something needs to be done about authentication. “I think that Authentication and Verification, whether the picture is AI-generated or created by a human hand, is crucial, as is the security of Data Privacy,” she explains to us. “There should be a Penalization system for violating personal, creative, and intellectual rights, and these policies should be homogenous and global.” For many photographers, she’s describing a very ideal world.