The answer to that question, in a decade and a half of hindsight, is "yes, and no, depending on your perspective".
Smart phones, Instagram as a form-factor, filters, likes, and now AI — photography is still a thing. Depending on your take, it may be more alive than ever — or you might say that it is long dead, if digital innovation has ruined the purity of the art.
Just a few weeks ago, ChatGPT opened a lot of eyes. GPT-3 is not magic, and under the hood it's still pretty damn dumb, but if you've been following along, it's hard to deny that it isn't a window into the next decade of major changes.
We're living through an artificial intelligence renaissance that will change "content on the Internet" in ways which are going to be tough to predict — however, our relationship with the craft is going to evolve, and there will be no moment where we are totally left behind.
Smart phones did shrink photojournalism, even if photography exploded in absolute metrics. There will be crafts and professions which shrink, while others grow.
Writing and software development will still be valuable crafts, but some of the skills required for excellence will change. If you are an experienced practitioner, consider yourself one of the valuable few who will understand why the AI might be suggesting something the way it is. If you are new to the craft, consider your edge the opportunity to embrace AI right from the get go.
There will be bad actors, there will be greedy CEOs, there will be some really bad decisions made along the way. But there will be opportunity for growth, new perspective, and some brand new ways to have fun within the craft.
Happy coding. ❤️
Top comments (25)
Editing was fun when I started doing photography, but after a while it became more tedious than enjoyable (and is probably the main reason I've been dragging on taking more photos recently)
It was made a bit easier though when I picked up Luminar which "uses AI to edit photos" - in reality it's not much different than picking a preset from Instagram, but you can still manipulate all the super fine details to get it exactly where you want it after applying the filter.
All that to say - AI implementations that don't take away any control from the creator is where I hope we're headed.
mhm. didn't know how to answer or react. Many travel instagram photo looks unreal and not human touch. I have a travel blog and I saw a blogger mentioned about ig photos all too polished and unreal. You can hardly think they were human touch. Same like too many plastic surgical done faces on tv. There are times you wanna pinch your cheeks and think they were real.
I like a travel blogger who takes photos and puts them on their blog or IG unedited, no filters applied. If you artificially beautify your travel blog photos it's called cheating in my book.
I won't call it cheating to retouch. Where to draw the line? If we consider retouching to be cheating, it would also be cheating to take a photograph in the first place, especially if your camera contains any electric or even electronic parts and advanced optical technology. Zoom? Cheating!
But I still prefer rough, unedited styles over the filters that instagram suggests to use and that users seem to like or at least have gotten used to.
Yeah a basic retouch to remove something annoying or to adjust the lighting a bit, nothing wrong with that of course ... but the excessive use of filters or effects - no, not my cup of tea (unless it's sort of evident that the filters are the whole point, and that the photo is meant to be artificial - in that case it can be an artistic statement).
What I don't really like is these travel bloggers posting heavily edited/manipulated versions of something they've seen, just to make it more "impressive" - that's what I sort of meant when I said "cheating".
Well a lot of the pictorial material I see people posting on FB or IG these days is just garish, unnatural and tasteless, ugly kitsch basically, but well the good thing is that I'm not forced to watch it ;)
As a photographer (and a developer) I disagree. When you use a tool to create an artifact (code or a photo), you will buy into the "decisions" made by the tool for you. Compilers, interpreters, transpilers, frameworks,
cameras, are all producing manipulated artifacts (just behind the scenes from you). I could argue that that is no less cheating than I, as dev or a photographer, creating an artifact that I want to see, that I imagined/ideated in my head and using Photoshop or an IDE to refactor some code. Reality is a matter of interpretation and perception, I don't think there is any absolutes in creative endeavours such as programming or photography.
If you're acting as an "artist" then yes you have artistic freedom, but I was talking about a travel blogger, which is more akin to a journalist of sorts.
If the blogger visited a country or an area and tries to inform me about it (which might persuade me to even visit the destination myself), then I want to be able to rely on the accuracy of the information.
If the beach there consisted of black sand or pebbles but the blogger manipulates the photos to make it seem like fine white sand (because he thinks it looks more cool), or the sea is brownish but he turns it into emerald blue - then I will rightly feel cheated when I arrive at that beach only to find out that it's totally different than advertised.
That was my point - so, it depends (in the example I've given) on the role of the content creator: as an artist/photographer you have a large amount of artistic freedom, as a (travel) blogger it's a different story - I definitely don't like it when that blogger goes overboard with "filters" or whatever and presents things in a false or inaccurate way.
(yes, reality is to a certain extent what you make of it, but black pebbles isn't white sand, and brownish isn't emerald blue)
Ah! If you are talking about journalistic photography, then yes, creative editing is essentially lying. IIRC, World Press Photo Association even has strict rules about what edits a photographer can or cannot do. Nothing beyond minor contrast adjustment.
But ok I take your point.
agree. For zooming/cropping or adding some emoticons, I think that is not considered as polishing/post-productions.
For my travel blog, I didn't polish photos as I would love my audience to have "you see what you get for real".
A lot of times, I doubt about what I saw in ig photos. I always love to see the real scene like what I did in Krabi in Thailand. The color of the sea is really emerald as in the photo.
Exactly - "what you see is what you get" :)
There is still the creative choice of where you point the camera and what you choose to exclude. For example, waiting until tourists have walked out of the frame before you take a shot. A picture is always the creative choice of the photographer and never "fully real".
Yeah sure, it's real but there's still an element of "choices" and subjectivity :)
This is why I don't like the artificially enhanced photography from "influencers" and such, and why I like simple posts with "real" photos from people whom I personally know, and who just want to share stuff within a small circle of friends or family.
And I think that's how social media was originally intended: simple stories, real photos - no filters, no hype, no trends, no stupid or harmful "challenges", no politics, no toxicity, no clickbait, no sensationalism, no thousands of followers - just stories and pictures that you want to share with friends & family.
I don't mind ChatGPT or any other AI as a bridge for some weird acronym like CaaS (Code as a Service) and changing my work focus from coding to more architectural work, I'm a little more worried about how little I've seen regarding the complaints/concerns of the art community from the tech sphere (but maybe this is just me and my huge control over what content I consume).
From NFT bros stealing art to now companies using scrappers to train AI with their art, I have a feeling that the art community might end up deciding to simply isolate itself after so many attacks from tech.
Anyway, bad joke incoming: tensions between the T and A of STEAM are incrementing.
But yes, I agree with your post, things will definitely evolve and we need to be able to adapt to these changes and fast. I hope it's all positive though! :3
I think society will adapt, just like photography, photoshop, and 3d animation did. And just like there is a market for physical music records, there are still people buying framed oil on canvas paintings today, and they will probably do so tomorrow, no matter how many boring or creative digital art will be released.
There is a discussion about digital art, often full of hate and misunderstanding, and many people criticizing the other side for the wrong reasons, which can be quite funny from a distance.
But in our tech community, most people don't seem to mind. Maybe my post about openAI images will get more attention as I added some lines about chatGPT though ;-)
I've had this kind of discussion years ago, in my view we need two categories.
Photography and Photo Art.
Photography is the classic way of taking photos with minimal post processing. Photo Art is everything else, Instagram, Photoshop heavy edited photo's that even do photo merging.
I believe that way you can retain both arts and make relevant comparisons for awards etc.
Interesting perspective. People get afraid that new technology will totally erase something else. And, to be honest, sometimes that does happen because that other thing literally has no purpose any longer. But as for photography, writing, art, etc? No, the need for a human will not go away. It's like anything else in that we adapt and use the new technology to help us. For those students who are using it to write their essays? lol I understand about being an overwhelmed college student and wanting a shortcut. But in the end, professors will figure out a way around this in the sense of possibly more in-class assignments and more.
On a different note, have you tried out Character.AI yet? I've been a bit late to trying the new AI technology, waiting for it to evolve a bit. I've tried Dalle for generating art. It was fun but nothing that blew me away.
But yesterday I finally tried out Character.AI and was pleasently surprised by how good some of the bots were. Next on my list is to check out ChatGPT.
It's a changing world...
I realize your article was specifically on photography but you did mention writing so I wanted to add...
Many people misunderstand what AI help is. For example, for assistance in editing my writing, I use various AI editors. ProWritingAid, HemingwayApp, Grammarly, and others. Thing is, all of them suggest changes but in the end any decisions on changes is ultimately up to the writer. Just like when a writer is working with a human editor. But many writers mistakenly think that AI's suggestions are gospel and to apply changes. Or the opposite. The writer proudly declares they refuse to use an AI editor. Which is funny to me because if they even used Microsoft's Word app, they were already using an AI editor. Plus, using an AI editor can continue to improve a writer's skill as they slowly learn what works and doesn't. And that's the way it should be.
I guess my 'squirrel' comment is meant to say that AI means many things and most likely everyone has already used an AI application without even realizing it.
Just looking at that headline I thought funny in my head:
"Will ChatGPT kill in-person human conversations?"
I remember the same discussion when digital cameras became accessible for the average consumer. You suddenly saw everyone and their horse walking around with a huge DSLR camera and lens. "real photography" was ruined! Any old fool can take photos now! It's the end of the art of photography! But in the end we can see that quality will always emerge over mediocrity.
I always give the same answer to these kind of questions. There are two types of photography in my opinion.
1 is great for instagram and those 'quick share' services and sites.
2 takes time and far more involvement beyond clicking the button, this was the same back in the film days and remains the same today in the digital age.
Instagram has a place as a delivery service, with a quick creation platform. But it will not take the place of long term art creation as there will always be the next thing that replaces it.
And I think the same applies to app creation, yes there are going to be tools that do it all, but they won't be able to observe and discover a problem that needs solving, they can only offer a solution that might work.
And let's never forget those circles that keep coming around.
Not sure why word Instagram were used in title.
Is Instagram still a thing anywhere? Is there any user content left? Only ads and infinite reposts. How can ads platform kill photography?
So DID video kill the radio star? Same question, decades later. And the answer is much the same - things and people evolve.
I think since Instagram Is pushing reels, one might consider using those to show photography in addition to the traditional way of posting photography.