Ballarat International Photo Biennale Offers World’s First ‘Promptography’ Prize for AI-Generated Photos

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In April, German photographer Boris Eldagsen turned down the prestigious Sony World Photography Award in the Creative Open category because the image was created by artificial intelligence, a fact he did not disclose after winning.

The reason for doing this, he says, is to see if competition is ready for AI images (clearly not). Now, Eldagsen gets to test his sanity as a judge in the world’s first competition for AI-generated “photographic” images.

Prompted Peculiar – The International AI Prize is part of the Ballarat International Photo Biennale. The overall winner will receive $1000. The nature of the works is being described as “promptography”, a term coined this year in the wake of Eldagsen’s win.

It’s an interesting twist on an art form that previously only required visual skills. Directing AI to create images requires a vocabulary that describes not only the subject, but the style, lighting, mood and palette (which can be harder than it sounds).

Eldagsen isn’t the only photographer to test whether human experts can spot AI images. In February, an AI-generated picture of a drone shot of a beach at sunset won the DigiDirect monthly photo contest. The producers were Sydney-based Absolutely Eye.

“We did it to prove that we’re at the cutting edge of artificial intelligence,” said AI founder Jamie Simmons Australian Photography.

Entries for aspiring promptographers for Prompted Peculiar close on 15 September. Winners will be announced on October 8.

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