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Photography award winner declines prize after admitting image was created using AI

The winner of an important photography award turned down the prize when he admitted that the image he submitted had been created by artificial intelligence.

Last week, the Sony World Photography Award was given to German artist Boris Eldagsen for his entry entitled Pseudomnesia The Electrician in the category of creative open.

The artist stated on his website that he entered the competition as “a cheeky monkey” to see if it was prepared to accept AI images.

He concluded, “They’re not.”


He asked his readers, “How many knew or suspected it was AI generated?” This doesn’t seem right to you, does it not?

“AI and photography shouldn’t compete in a competition like this. These are two different things. AI is not the same as photography.

I therefore will not accept this award.

Artificial Intelligence: More Information

Eldagsen claimed that he informed the organizers of the way his image was created, when they told him that he had won. He claims they responded by telling him he can keep the award.

He published a detailed description of his conversations with Creo, the award organizers. In this account, he seems to have repeatedly pressed them to explain why they did not initially reveal that his image was created using AI.

Eldagsen pointed out, too, that “pseudomnesia”, in Latin, means “fake memory”.

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The World Photography Organisation spokesperson confirmed that Eldagsen had admitted how the image was created before being announced the winner. He also said the photograph in question relied on his “wealth” of photographic knowledge and they were satisfied with the fact he met the entry criteria.

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They also stated that relations between the two have soured. “We were looking forward in engaging in a deeper discussion on this subject and welcomed Boris’ wish for dialogue, by preparing questions to be used in a Q&A dedicated with him for our site.

“As he now has decided to decline the award, we have suspended all our activities with this individual and have done so in accordance with his wishes.

“Given the actions he took and his subsequent statement indicating his deliberate attempt to mislead us and invalidating his warranties, we feel that we can no longer engage in meaningful and constructive dialog with him.

We acknowledge the importance of this topic and its impact on today’s image-making. We are looking forward to exploring this subject further via our channels and programmes, and we welcome the discussion around it.


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