AI in Photography: Unmasking the Dark Side of Digital Manipulation

Part 2 of a 2-Part Series

AI is quickly changing the digital landscape, but is it for the better?

In our previous blog post, we explored the myriad ways in which AI has transformed the landscape of professional headshot photography, revolutionizing the industry and enhancing the overall quality of our work. However, it's important to acknowledge that the rise of AI in photography, like any technological advancement, comes with its own set of challenges and potential pitfalls. As photographers who have experienced both the benefits and drawbacks firsthand, we want to shed light on the "dark side" of using AI in photography and other related industries.

As evident in the examples above, AI ventured into the realm of creative liberties, playfully distorting the proportions of my hands and fingers, adorning my head with an oddly sized ballcap, and even bestowing upon me a regal crown of hairless splendor. I must admit, I've often pondered what I might look like with the never-go-back, "bald look." I kinda of like it.

Weirdly manipulated images that vaguely look like me. Can you find the real-life snapshot/selfie?

"With the use of AI, we are seeing an instant loss of authenticity, personal approach and so much more that makes up the human experience"

The bad.

In addition to AI not being able to handle and discern between hands and fingers, the digital line has been blurred with odd manipulations of hands and fingers melting into one another. I can imagine over time, this kink in the system will be worked out, but for now, it's just plain BAD.

  • Loss of Authenticity: In the relentless pursuit of perfection, artificial intelligence may inadvertently strip away the essence of a photograph. While its goal is to enhance features, it often smoothes out the unique details and quirks that make each subject special. In the relentless quest for the "ideal" image, genuineness can be sacrificed in favor of digital retouching.
  • Dependency and Skill Erosion: As artificial intelligence continues to advance, there is a growing concern that photographers might become excessively reliant on it, potentially leading to a decline in their traditional photography skills. While AI can be a potent tool, it should act as a complement rather than a replacement for the creative expertise of a photographer.
  • Ethical Dilemmas: The proliferation of AI-generated images has unleashed a Pandora's box of ethical concerns. Deepfakes and image manipulation have the capacity to deceive, manipulate, and harm individuals and society at large. The ease with which AI can fabricate convincing visuals has raised concerns regarding truth and authenticity in the digital age.
  • Job Displacement: The automation potential of AI in photography tasks cannot be underestimated. Functions such as image categorization, sorting, and even basic retouching can now be handled by AI algorithms. This advancement has stirred concerns about the future of employment within the photography industry.
  • Quality Control and Overuse: While AI-driven enhancements can be advantageous, they can also lead to an overreliance on particular editing effects. This excessive reliance can dull the visual aesthetics of photography, resulting in a multitude of images lacking distinctiveness and creativity.

in conclusion

While AI undeniably offers numerous advantages in the field of photography, it's crucial to recognize and address its potential downsides. As photographers who have experienced both the benefits and drawbacks of AI technology, we believe that understanding and navigating these challenges is essential for maintaining the integrity and artistry of our craft. In our next blog post, we will delve into strategies for mitigating these negative aspects and finding a balance between harnessing AI's power and preserving the essence of authentic photography, and of course, we'll get into the "UGLY" side of things with AI.

I was a graphic artist (and photographer) before AI.

A quick recap on the BAD & UGLY:

  • Loss of authenticity and human relations
  • Strange manipulations of the hands, fingers and bodyparts
  • Ethical dilemmas regarding the use of AI in your workflow
  • Loss of employment within many industries is just the beginning

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