Boris Eldagsen’s black-and-white photograph titled Pseudomnesia / The Electrician won the creative open category at the Sony World Photography Awards despite not being taken by a camera. The piece shows a young woman looking away while an older woman stands behind her.
However, a week after winning the prize, Eldagsen issued a statement that he would not accept it. He’s also written a blog post stating there needs to be more discussion between photographers and the Sony awards, claiming that they have ignored his pleas for dialogue.
“Only after I suggested for the third time that a public discussion is necessary did you offer me a Q&A on your blog to be published before the award ceremony — which I happily said yes to. I waited 22 days in vain for these questions,” Eldagsen wrote.
“Also, pretending that you knew the picture was AI is wrong. I told one of your assistants in length, but then after the press release your PR executive contacted me, being surprised about all the inquiries regarding my image and asking for more info.
“I think you have a communication problem in your team. And also a communication problem with the photo community.”
Earlier in the week, he explained why he had entered the photography competition to begin with.
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“I applied as a cheeky monkey, to find out, if the competitions are prepared for AI images to enter. They are not.” he said. “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 specialises in photo and visual art, said that he “hoped to speed up this debate” by refusing the award and suggested if they didn’t know what to do with it, to donate it to the fotofestival in Odesa, Ukraine.
A representative for World Photography Organisation said Eldagsen told them he had “co-created” the image using AI before he was announced as the winner — something Eldagsen refutes.
The WPO also said they had additionally “welcomed Boris’s wish for dialogue”, but had suspended working with him after he declined the award.
“Given his actions and subsequent statement noting his deliberate attempts at misleading us, and therefore invalidating the warranties he provided, we no longer feel we are able to engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue with him,” they said.
Source : The National News