Pseudomania or The Electrician

Photographer Wins Prestigious Competition With AI-Generated Image, Refuses Award

German photographer, Boris Eldagsen, has turned down the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards after using artificial intelligence to create his winning piece. To be specific he won in the creative open category with his black and white photograph named “Pseudomania” or “The Electrician”. 

The image displays a young woman standing directly infront of the objective while an older woman stands eerily behind her. After he won the prize, Boris announced on his website that he won’t be accepting the awards. He says this: 

“I applied as a cheeky monkey, to find out, if the competitions are prepared for AI images to enter. They are not,” he wrote.

“We, the photo world, need an open discussion. 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?”

Eldagsen, who is a photo and visual art specialist, said that he hoped to fuel the fire regarding the AI Art/Photography debate by refusing the award. 

He made the suggestion that “if you dont know what to do with the prize, please donate it to the fotofestival in Odesa, Ukraine”.

A spokesperson for the World Photography Organisation said that Eldagsen told them he had “co-created” the image using AI before he was announced as the winner.

“As per the rules of the competition, the photographers provide the warranties of their entry,” they told The Guardian.

“The creative category of the open competition welcomes various experimental approaches to image making from cyanotypes and rayographs to cutting-edge digital practices. As such, following our correspondence with Boris and the warranties he provided, we felt that his entry fulfilled the criteria for this category, and we were supportive of his participation.”

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