Woman’s iPhone photo of son rejected from Sydney competition after judges ruled it could be AI |  Photography

Woman’s iPhone photo of son rejected from Sydney competition after judges ruled it could be AI | Photography

Suzi Dougherty was chuffed when a happy snap she took of her son on her iPhone turned out so well.

She was so happy with the sharp, colour-saturated picture of her posing with mannequins at a Gucci exhibition that she had a copy printed off for her mother and entered it in a local photography competition.

Four judges considered the photo – and they loved it.

Then they rejected it. They were suspicious it had been generated by artificial intelligence.

Dougherty jokes that she’s just upset she didn’t win. “I was flattered,” she says, adding that her 18-year-old son, Caspar, thought it was hilarious.

The pair had been to Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum exhibition of props and sets used in advertising campaigns by the luxury fashion house.

“He was wearing a cardigan that matched, and posed for a happy snap,” Dougherty says. “We really liked it, so we had it printed for my mum who loves Gucci but couldn’t get there because she was sick.”

Dougherty – an actor who also works at the National Institute of Dramatic Art – entered it in the Charing Cross Photo competition. She didn’t think anything more of it until a friend showed her an Instagram post from the store saying the picture had been disqualified – the competition terms and conditions made it clear AI was not eligible.

“She said, ‘Are you upset?’ I said, ‘No, if they think it’s AI it must be OK.’ I wouldn’t even know how to do an AI photo, I’m just getting my head around ChatGPT.”

Iain Anderson, the owner of the Sydney printer Charing Cross Photo, says while the competition may eventually need to embrace AI, it’s a community event that is still working through the issue.

“I think we need to have a section for AI at some point … but because we don’t know enough about it, because we’re still purists in a way, that will be difficult to judge,” he says.

“When this image came up, we all loved it, then I said, ‘Hang on it looks a little AI-ish,’ then we all started talking about it and went well, we can’t know for sure it is or isn’t ‘t, but on the basis we’re suspicious we can’t allow it in.

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“It gave us an opportunity to reinforce that this is about taking the image of yourself, being present in the environment.”

Anderson says he looked at the metadata on the image but he wasn’t able to tell if it was AI or not.

Dr. Patrick Hutchings studied the creative application of AI at Monash University, and is now the head of AI at generative music platform, Aimi. He says it used to be easier to tell if AI had been used on a picture – it is hard to get the hair and the eyes right – but the technology is now so good it’s really difficult.

“Generally the images look like they’ve had some digital processing, but a lot of photos have had digital processing either by the camera or someone’s put it through Photoshop,” he says, adding that people can also put photos through software to change the metadata and disguise the AI ​​elements.

“I don’t believe you can tell for certain.”

It’s too late for Dougherty to nab the $500 prize; the Charing Cross Photo fashion photography competition was done and dusted and she was ousted. But she said she might enter the next one, even though it has an architecture theme.

“They said I don’t have to pay the entry fee so I probably will – just for fun,” she says.

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