WITH the slightly unsettling news that Warner Music has made history by signing an AI virtual pop singer, how long before AI-generated art is the norm in exhibitions around the world?
The head-spinning impact of artificial intelligence on the art world has been divisive with some competitions banning AI-generated images while others welcoming the new “art form” with open arms.
On the eve of this year’s Perth Amateur Photographers Exhibition in Fremantle, what is organiser Travis Satur’s take on the computer-generated elephant in the room?
“I kind of question if the feelings we have now about AI are similar to the way traditional film photographers felt when digital photography took off and eventually we will accept it as its own form of art, but for me personally the enjoyment I get out of photography is being out and taking the photo, interacting with nature being out in the streets taking photos and engaging with people while taking the photo,” Satur says
“I don’t think AI will impact that part and I think ultimately we will still have a need and want for ‘true’ images.”
Purists will be glad to know there are no AI-generated images in this year’s Perth Amateur Photographers exhibition, which is perhaps the best yet with 150 snaps by 50 photographers from all walks of life.
From a striking Christmas Island red crab to a weathered busker in Fremantle, there is a diverse mix of photos with something for everyone.
This year has seen a big increase in the number of bird photos submitted, including the particularly stunning Fairy Wren coming into land by Denise Welsh – its vivid blue plumage and extended wings captured in perfect detail.
“The skill level and quality of photos on show this year has taken a big step up from the previous year,” Satur says. “I think in part due to the success of the exhibition we are now seeing photographers planning what they want to exhibit in advance, and have been actively getting out and shooting more often to get the shot they want.
“The popularity of our exhibit is growing year-on-year, showing that more and more people are now starting to give photography a go as a good way to express their creativity.”
Ironically, the youngest exhibitor Marta Mrasic, 20, is the only photographer not to use a digital camera – a seed of hope for analog purists.
“Other favourites would be Paul Steele, who has experimented with some abstracts using a process called ‘intentional camera movement’” Satur says. “Christina Bunney has only been playing with photography for a year and has taken one of the shots of the exhibition with her eucalyptus flower photo. Jayne Johnson, also very new to photography, has captured a fantastic photo of a man in Fremantle, finding her niche in the street photography space.”
Satur says this year’s exhibition is proof there is no substitute for a human capturing the moment.
“I am somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to art – the use of technology to improve an image captured is a totally acceptable part of the art of photography, but with AI I think that takes that a step too far,” he says.
“It’s a great tool to let creativity flow and come up with things outside of the realm of reality, but kind of sits in opposition to traditional photography where the purpose is to convey the story behind that moment when the shutter captures the image. AI has a place, but I don’t think that place is sitting alongside photography.”
The fourth Perth Amateur Photographers exhibition is at the Kidogo Arthouse on Bathers Beach, Fremantle from Sunday October 15-19. For more info see perthamateurphotographers.wordpress.com
by STEPHEN POLLOCK