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Bob Draper

I remember as far back as 15 years I was losing photo competitions to people with images featuring a certain look, but on talking to them it was clear there photography knowledge was limited. Eventually I found out they were using Topaz tools and things like SilverFX. So judges seem to prefer images modified thus whatever their pontifications. I think we’re stuck with it.

It’s interesting though from the point of photo competition rules, that these AI programs effectively use millions of other images to modify yours. So is it really your work? Photographic societies now have the problem of updating their rules.


AI is all about refinement/fixes for the most part. If you want to start rallying against that, then it’s basically back to argument about technique (i.e. who can achieve a certain ‘look’ without the additional tools), and not content. If you really wanna get hardcore, use a Brownie (or a pinhole!) and concentrate on content. Bring it on!

Mike Peterson

As always, new methods and tools will threaten some who are knowledgeable with past methods. I’m old and come from the time where the art tools were the same throughout history. I had to learn the old ways. It helps to know them, but that skill will eventually fade. The good thing about art, is that we have a history, and a reference. I myself love the new tools, and I love tech. Yes the kids now are lacking deep understanding, but you can spot that if you have a discernible eye. The modern judges will eventually evolve too, as everyone’s pictures become quality photos, the skills of composition and subject are going to win out, as it should be. Because for me, photography never was about the process, it only becomes art when we see the point of the photographer. The other is just an exercise in technique.


If all they were using was Topaz, then you lose, fair-and-square. Topaz is merely image refinement and has no bearing on content. SilverFX OTOH I don’t know, but the name sounds fairly invasive. Maybe enter your stuff into other competitions?

Mike Peterson

It’s a tool. Of course you can overdue it just like a hammer. There is no tool that you cannot overuse. The trick is to have enough discretion to see if you are going too far. THAT is the real issue. Being able to look at something and critically see it is really what this is all about, not A.I.

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