What I think of AI in photography

Pauline Le Pichon
3 min readJun 13, 2023

I was born in 1988, so I kind of witnessed the evolution of things like computers and phones, and I was at secondary school when the internet became trendy.

I’ve always seen these technological advances as useful things. We can find a lot of information on the internet, keep in touch with our friends thanks to our smartphones, and computers are indispensable for many jobs.
So, these advances are more than welcome.

When it comes to AI, I’m much more sceptical. Actually, I’ve never liked the idea of machines replacing humans. I mean, I like the idea of machines made to help human beings, but replacing them is something frightening.
In recent months, we’ve seen the rise of AI images, and I don’t like that at all.

The lack of creativity and skills

A photographer is supposed to be creative, imaginative and know how to take a picture.
With applications that generate AI images, all you have to do is type in a few words and the app will automatically create an image. For instance, if you want a picture of women on a beach with a sunset, you just have to type in words like “women”, “beach” and “sunset”, and the app will generate an image showing women on a beach with a sunset behind them.
When I think about it, I wonder where the creativity and the skills are in this situation. It seems more like a game than anything else.
You can’t claim to be a photographer when you use these things. Yet, I’m pretty sure some people think that it still requires creativity because you have to find the right words to create the desired image. But that’s nothing compared to the act of creating a photograph from scratch.

Lower your rates or be unemployed

Imagine an advertising agency that wants to use photos of flowers. If an AI app is cheaper than the photographer it has found, it will obviously choose the app. It’s an understandable choice, but there’s no substitute for someone who can offer you a wide range of possibilities and ideas, and who can listen to each of your wishes.
We know that if AI-generated photography continues to improve, customers will stop commissioning photographers and use apps instead.
Photographers will then have no choice but to lower their prices. Unless you live in a cave, you know that there’s a financial crisis in the world right now, so no one can afford to lower their rates.
We’re talking about skilled people who also to earn a living, so think about that before you consider using one of these apps.

Trusting these images

My work is about deceptive appearances. I make people believe that what they are looking at, happened in real life. I do this because I want them to check the information given before believing it.
At first, the AI images reminded me of my own. But they’re way more dangerous because they’re much more widespread, and above all, they sometimes represent important people and, in this case, many people may consider them to be real images. It is then easy to imagine the dramatic consequences that these AI images can have, such as disinformation.
Most of the time, the hands look weird, which can be a clue as to whether the images are real or not. But sometimes it’s so well done that it completely fools us, like the picture generated by the app the artist Boris Eldagsen used. So we must be very careful with what we do with these apps.

As you can see, I’m not a big fan of AI images. Given the times we live in, I think they’re really harmful and shouldn’t exist, or at least shouldn’t be published.

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Pauline Le Pichon

I’m a French visuel artist, freelance photographer, instructor and writer.