Fake Photo's The FireStorm That the New Photoshop AI has Created

September 08, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! Hope you're having a Fantastic week. This week I want to talk about the firestorm of discussion that the new Photoshop AI Generative fill has brought to the photography community. Let me start out as saying I respect everyones opinion and I am no expert on the subject and these are just my thoughts. During a monthly meeting at my photography club the subject of using Photoshop in our quarterly photo contest or not. When I say Photoshop its not the software but the verb that has been associated with the Editing Software. Which means major editing and manipulation of the photo. And the discussion started. First there was one person that simply asked the question about using photoshop to enhance their photo to make it look like a painting in photoshop. Then the firestorm started. People got very defensive about how altering a photo in photoshop wasn't photography anymore. But then it was okay to take something out of the photo using photoshop but putting something in (Generative AI Fill) was wrong. I was sitting to the side listening to all of this and I was keeping my mouth shut because I really didn't care if someone used the new tool or not and didn't want to add fire to the flame. But I was kind of surprised at the reaction of my fellow photogs. I could understand if its journalism not wanting to alter the photograph. But this isn't journalism its art. Everyone always fights for photography to be classified as an art but then when you try to create something new its bad its not photography anymore.  Now everyone has their own opinion and I respect that but the main reason that people were arguing about the new AI was not because of the technique used with it but because they didn't know what was real or not anymore. They feel as they have been tricked by the photographer or photograph. Someone did something on the computer that tricked them and they can't trust photography anymore. That is what really what got them so on negitive side of the issue. There were even post on our Facebook members page showing photo's that were clearly not real but people were mad because they were tricked into believing something on Facebook. Yea I know believing something on Facebook. LOL There was even one post that showed a lady going on and on about a website that has gotten 100000 likes and shares for photo's that weren't real and she was mad and jealous of all the attention and she said so. So why didn't she just not go to that page anymore? Thats the real strength in all of this. If you don't like it don't use it. Some of the arguments were that is was okay to take things out with this new tool but not too much. It was very entertaining to listen to.  And this was just in my small little club meeting. 

So here's my opinion of this situation. It's just another photography tool that the computer has brought to our fingertips. There have been many. HDR for example . Remember when that became a big thing and everyone was using it. You could clearly tell that it was HDR and everyone overused it. Then the fad was over and we only merge photo's to increase the range of light in harsh conditions. There have been similar discussions when the healing brush, layers, crop tool, Content aware fill... came out. Content aware fill is just the weak sibling of Generative Fill. It matches the scenery and and fills in the scene. Sometimes it works and sometime it doesn't . The same with Generative fill. Or sky replacement.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. When Sky Replacement it first came out in Luminar people went crazy using it. Now not so much and Photoshop has even incorporated it into its editing tool because it was so popular. So how is this new tool (Generative fill ) so offensive ?  Because it works well and you can't tell if the photo has been altered.  And that is what is causing the uproar.  I believe that if it's NOT meant to be journalism you can alter the photograph because it's Art. Whether I like it or not. Art is Art. Now I don't get or understand a lot of Art to tell you the truth but its someones else's interpretation of something. All photographs , paintings, sculptures or any form of art should be thought of this way. Its an interpretation of something .  Wether its on the internet , TV or print. Even if they haven't altered the photograph the way they took the photograph the perspective of how they shot it can show their interpretation of what they saw and not what is real. If you shoot in low perspective things look larger and taller than they really are. Things that are shot closer are bigger than they really are. Like that fish you caught and held close to the lens to make it look bigger than it actually was. Even the Cypress Trees IRCypress Trees IR lens we choose alters what is real. If we use a telephoto we compress the scene bring things in the background closer. Like mountains in the far distance that look like they are right behind the subject you are shooting. If we use a fisheye lens we distort the whole scene. If we want photography to be thought of as art we have to let people express theirselves however they can. We don't have to like it or believe that if it's a photograph it's real. It's an expression of someones thoughts. Always has been.

It has been said that the new AI is the biggest change in Photography since the invention of digital. Remember the big uproar about what was photography and what it wasn't back then? We survived that and for my money came out ahead of the game in the long run. I am a much better photographer now than I was in the film days when I began as a photographer. I think we can survive an editing software advancement. There are those that say that I don't care if it used if they put a statement on the photograph saying it was altered.  Every photo you see in print or on the internet that is not journalism has been altered in some way or another. Thats a lot of statements. It would be easier to put a statement on a photograph that hasn't been altered. Ansel Adams was famous for altering what came out of the camera by dodging and burning and all kinds of darkroom techniques that he used and invented. He would spend hours in the darkroom getting his photographs just the way he interpreted them to be not on how real they looked.  Now for a photography contest? Contest have rules and if its in the rules that you can't use then you can't use. I have no problem with that. But we should just think about what rules we want to put on art. Thats all I'm saying. So until next week Get Outside and Shoot and Express Yourself.


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