Photographer declines World Photography Award after disclosing AI creation; Here’s why

The photographer declined the award and stated he wanted to see if competitions were ready for artificial intelligence photographs.

After a photographer disclosed that his award-winning image was actually created by artificial intelligence, the applicability and utility of AI in photography have come into sharp focus. The artist also declined to accept the Sony World Photography Awards in the wake of the shocking revelation.


The German photographer Boris Eldagsen won first place in the Creative Category of the art competition with his entry “The Electrician.” However, the photographer declined to accept the award because he wanted to determine whether competitions were ready for AI photographs.

In a statement published on his website, Eldagsen acknowledged he had been a “cheeky monkey,” thanking the judges for “selecting my image and making this a historic moment” and asking if any of them “knew or suspected that it was computer-generated.”

“AI images and photography should not be in competition for this award.” They are two distinct entities. Artificial intelligence is not photography. “I will not accept the award for this reason,” he said.

Eldagsen stated, “We in the photography community require an open dialogue.” “A discussion of what constitutes photography and what does not. Is the photography umbrella large enough to accommodate AI images, or would this be a mistake?

Eldagsen proposed donating the prize to a photo festival held in Odessa, Ukraine, stating, “With my refusal of the award, I hope to accelerate this debate.”

The photograph ‘The Electrician’ depicts two women from different eras in a pensive black-and-white portrait. It has the aesthetic of the 1940s due to the sepia tone. Eldagsen, who describes himself as a “photomedia artist” on his website, collaborated with an AI to create the work.

The title “The Electrician” is derived from Eldagsen’s series entitled “pseudomnesia,” which is Latin for “fake memory.” Eldagsen claims on his website that the images are “fake memories of a past that never existed and was never photographed,” created by sending them through 20 to 40 artificial intelligence image generators.