A real photo was not allowed in the photography contest because it was produced by artificial intelligence (AI).


A real photo captured with an iPhone was excluded from a photography competition due to suspicions that it was created using artificial intelligence (AI).

Suzi Dougherty took a captivating photo of her son posing with two well-dressed mannequins during a visit to a Gucci exhibition. Satisfied with her creation, she decided to submit it to a photo competition.

Dougherty didn’t give it much thought until a friend showed her an Instagram post stating that her photo was disqualified from the competition because the organizers suspected it to be an image generated by artificial intelligence (AI).

“I wouldn’t even know how to create an AI-generated photo,” Dougherty tells The Guardian. “I’m currently trying to understand ChatGPT myself.”

The photography competition was organized by Charing Cross Photo, a store located in Sydney, Australia. In their Instagram post announcing the disqualification of Dougherty’s photo, the judges mentioned that they were initially intrigued by it, but eventually, suspicion arose.

Charing Cross Photo expressed their preference for images that originate from real-life experiences rather than those sourced from cyberspace.

Charing Cross Photo stated that while they cannot be absolutely certain that the submitted image was created by AI, they emphasized the importance of considering the instincts and impressions of their four judges.

Iain Anderson, the owner of Charing Cross Photo, informed The Guardian that the judges examined the metadata of the image but were unable to determine conclusively whether it was generated by AI or not.

“When this image appeared, we all found it captivating at first,” says Anderson, “but then I had a thought that it had an AI-like quality to it. We discussed it among ourselves, and while we couldn’t be certain either way, we decided that due to our suspicions, we couldn’t permit it to be included.”

“This situation provided us with an opportunity to emphasize the importance of capturing images personally, being physically present in the environment,” Anderson explains.

We would like to extend an apology, of sorts.

Yesterday, Charing Cross Photo issued an Instagram post stating that they had a conversation with Dougherty and verified that the photo in question is indeed authentic.

In their belated acknowledgment, Charing Cross Photo referred to the photo as a “clever exploration of the boundaries between reality and illusion.” However, due to the prior disqualification, Dougherty was unable to claim the $333 (500 Australian dollars) prize for her submission.

In a gesture of goodwill, Charing Cross Photo has kindly offered to waive Dougherty’s entry fee for the upcoming photo competition as a way to make amends.

“I’ll probably participate in the next competition just for fun,” Dougherty adds.

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