World Press Photo competition excludes AI submissions after backlash

The World Press Photo competition has updated its entry rules to exclude submissions of AI-generated images, just days after announcing that such images could be entered into the Open Format competition category. The World Press Photo Foundation initially said it would welcome AI-generated submissions – a move that sparked immediate backlash from photojournalists who said allowing artificially created images into a competition for photojournalists tasked with documenting real-world events was “anathema to everything our industry does.” »

The foundation has since rescinded its new AI submission guidelines and updated competition rules to ban AI-generated images from its Open Format category. “Thanks to honest and thoughtful feedback over the past few days, we have decided to change the rules for the Open Format category of our competition to exclude AI-generated images,” the World Press Photo Foundation said in a statement. published Monday on its website. . “Generative fill and fully generated images will be prohibited in the Open Format category (as was already the case in the other categories: Singles, Stories and Long-Term Projects).”

AI-generated images have never been eligible for submission to the prestigious World Press Photo of the Year competition.

AI-generated images have never been eligible for submission to the prestigious World Press Photo of the Year competition.

The image manipulation rules for photos “taken by a camera with a lens” have also been updated to provide greater clarity on what constitutes an AI-generated image. Light changes such as denoising, automatic adjustments (e.g. on levels, colors, contrast), and object selection are listed as acceptable examples of AI editing tools, including The extent will be decided by the competition organization and a global jury. Tools based on generative AI models that introduce new information to enlarge and sharpen images, such as Adobe Super Resolution and Topaz Photo AI, are not allowed.

To help clarify what a photograph is in the AI ​​era, the World Press Photo Foundation also helped develop a “set of clear ethical standards” alongside photojournalism institutions, visual journalists and “editors with interest and expertise on the subject”. They aim to ensure that photographs are “fair and accurate representations of what the photographer witnessed” and are not produced in a way that misleads the public.

AI is getting harder to ignore in cameras and image editing software

AI technology is increasingly present in cameras and editing software. So it’s easy to see why the World Press Photo Foundation is trying to tighten its submission guidelines. Many apps like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom offer AI-assisted editing tools designed to make photographers’ lives easier by automating boring and tedious tasks like masking objects or refining hair details. And increasingly, AI is powering the imaging systems of modern smartphones, with Google’s new Magic Editor and Best Take features used to differentiate the Pixel 8.

With AI so deeply ingrained in the photography pipeline, the World Press Photo Foundation’s guidelines defining the level of AI manipulation allowed for real photography are a welcome attempt to drive a greater divide between ” ‘art’ of AI and photojournalism.

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