Wednesday, March 29th, 2023
Ai needs to be addressed by all governments to make a change. And they are already to late. The result will be, that people need to adjust. Like painters did when photography was invented. There will be new jobs created because of ai. And for sure some of these jobs will earn less money than the job that was needed for the same task without ai. I have the feeling that this new technology can not be stopped anymore. To many people have invested to much money. Microsoft is already using chatGPT parts in Outlook, Teams and much more, like it’s own search Bing(Google stock crashed on that day when they did the first demo) For example, mails are created automatically because of the communication you had before – its learning to become you. Most companies use ai already for their business. Politicians who should have done something, will not do anything because the world is ruled by money and when there is a technology that can easily make you more money, not many with the power to stop it will stop it. I also think there are lots of areas where ai will help us. To fight diseases for example. So it’s more about regulation than to stop ai.
As said, ChatGPT consumed one Gigawatt in January and I can imagine that all images based AI will consume much more. There you have another reason why this can be bad for us. And still the governments all over the world will tell the people to save energy with electric cars and alternative heating solutions and so on. Nobody talks about power consumption of ai or other internet services.
And chatGPT is just starting. They needed two month to gain 100million users. Instagram needed 30 months, Google translate 78months and Facebook even longer. While Meta consumed already 9.4 Terrawatt in 2021, with all ai growing faster, the power consumption will grow as well. I would love to find more articles about that.
But there are also companies that think ahead. I am testing Adobe Firefly for a magazine right now. This ai was trained by licensed images only. That means artists were paid in some way and that is a good thing (It’s not as good as I thought it will be, I wrote another article about it and will link to it here, as soon as it is online). There is a different way to do things, but I don’t see anybody regulating ai these days for the reasons mentioned above. It’s all about money and I am not a fan of it.
I think there could be a chance to regulate image ai for commercial use these days. It is the fear of people who use ai images commercially. Regulation will start if another ai detects copyrighted images were used to create your image or when lawyers get their first case where they can sue somebody who sold a generated image that looks similar to an existing one from a client. Both cases are again about money. This could be also a chance to regulate Midjourney, but I don’t see anything that can regulate ChatGPT.
With the wet plate process I see myself in a different position, because people get an experience that can not be replicated that easy with ai. I also don’t see my self being a huge fan of ai generated images, but it can be useful in some cases. I don’t like to just talk bad about ai, I am more a fan of finding solutions. As mentioned in a previous post, ai based images should get digital copyright baked into the file, so these created images can be tagged easily on all platform as “computer generated image”.
If you want to learn more about that, then check out these links about digital watermarks:
Wikipedia article about digital watermarks
Image tag, a company who offers digital watermarks as a service
An Article on science direct.com about digital watermarks
Digital Watermarking Techniques and Security Issues from Jordi Nin and Sergio Ricciardi
As far as I understand, you even can screenshot/photograph such an marked image of the screen and the digital copyright still remains. Let’s hear your thoughts about it. I added a gallery underneath with portraits. Let me know which one you think are generated and what gave it away? Maybe you see similarities to existing images…
There is also an easter egg “symbol” in the video that shows how ai caught us “over night”. here is a little hint: “don’t feed them after midnight”
A new update just came up today and its worth a read: https://time.com/6266679/musk-ai-open-letter/
Monday, January 9th, 2023
How to load Analog FIlm into a Sony A7 – An Analog Portrait Photographers view of the upcoming year 2023 and why AI is not the End
My own prediction about what will photography be in the future and what I will do about it
I am not doing a rewind or recap this year. I think there are too many of these out there and I have mostly the feeling it’s only a fill-in. You can watch my “end of 2022 studio tour” video or my recent scanner renovation video if you want to watch something instead of reading this article.
The pink elephant in the room
It’s there, and everybody is seeing it (Also non photographers). Some people are scared, some are angry and others ignore it. What I am talking about? AI, like Midjourney, Dall-E or the text focused chatGPT. This will not change our world, it changed it already. The ai integration in our lives started a little sneaky, with some cool filters for example, google recaptcha, or enhancements for our phone cameras. Text-wise, we had chat bots that were mostly bad and voice assistants that were somewhere inbetween. Close your eyes and paint your own picture about how you felt about ai at the beginning of 2022. And now face reality and think how much it has improved in the last 5 Months and how much it improves now on a daily bases. For me it’s crazy how great these generated images/portraits look like and how they get better by the hour. It gets harder and harder for me to identify these generated images. I think these “calculated” pictures can be very useful sometimes and many of them look great.
I wrote a German article for c’t Fotografie (online pay or paper magazine) about this topic, you can read it here: https://www.heise.de/select/ct-foto/2023/1/2219314550220514230 This includes also an interview with an portrait artist that uses ai: Klaudia Ratzinger
But I also think that all these generated images should have a digital watermark, so social media and websites can tag them as generated. People need to know if that image they are looking at is real or generated. I know that there is Photoshop as well, but these ai tools can be operated form a 5 year old and the results will fool you. Ai affects already so many business, not only photography, but also writers, lawyers, translators, book authors and many many more. I recently saw an article that a guy used chatGPT to create a children’s book. He also asked chatGPT to write down descriptions for pictures, so other ai picture generators can create imagery for the book from this description. He is selling the finished product now on Amazon. I also read a reddit thread where there was the need for a letter from a lawyer. Somebody asked chatGPT to write a letter and the user asking for a lawyer letter had success with it. You don’t have any programming skills? just ask chatGPT to write a script/program for you.
“Words can be powerful” gets a totally new meaning these days.
Talking with chatGPT can also be hilarious – more at the end of this posting
Does that mean we need to be scared as a photographer? I don’t think so. Let me explain:
- At the beginning of photography, painters were upset because photographers had no idea about posing and light. Of course it was much easier to get a portrait from one day to another. That changed crime scene documentation totally.
- Later black and white film photographers were upset about color film photography.
- At the beginning of 2000, film photographers were upset about digital photography
- And later digital photographers were upset about phone cameras
- And now the same discussion starts with ai generated images. Even we use ai already for many years in our phones (or how do you think it was possible to capture a detailed moon photo with your phone?)
And today all these mentioned techniques are still coexisting. That’s why I think they will also coexist in the future. I think good photographers must be “stage managers” these days. They need to sell an experience. Something the customer will remember for a very long time. For example, when somebody gets their wet plate portrait taken in my studio, they for sure will remember that forever.
This kind of photography is so different in our fast moving world. Sure, people could use a tintype filter. But that is like seeing a great dinner on a photograph instead of going there and enjoying it. Or think of a wet plate workshop, or any other kind of photography workshop. Creating something by yourself is always exciting and fun.
This works also for digital. I just had a business shooting for two days and this can be a great experience as well. People were excited and happy.
I think that may be a different story for non portrait photographers, like food, architecture or product photographers. But a lot of companies are working already with generated (3D renderings) images for their catalogs. And as far as I know, these generated images are directed by photographers.
Please comment how you think other photography business will be affected by ai.
That is something I am not very good of. I have so much in my mind and want to do everything at once. But I try to go for walks every day to relax. Instead of my camera, I bring my new binoculars with me. I got myself some cool ones for Christmas (US click here – German click here for the ones I bought). So why I am telling you this? Because I felt the need sometimes to bring my camera to my walks, to capture deers, swans and other wildlife scenes. The binoculars are a great substitute for that. They will calm you down, because you can not use them to take pictures. I use them to watch wildlife and enjoy it a lot.
My new year resolutions for 2023
Don’t seek for perfect wet plate portraits all the time, accept the one you did and appreciate it. Look for more assignments that you enjoy and less that you don’t. Work more on your own projects you love.
How to load analog film into a Sony A7 digital camera?
Let’s end this post with something fun. I asked chatGPT some questions about wet plate and analog photography. And at the end, chatGPT ended up explaining me how to load film into a Sony A7 camera and why medium format film would not fit in. And no worries, the sensor cleaning and the ibis of the Sony A7 will not destroy your film either. And if you ever looked for a film rewind button on your digital camera, chat GPT got you covered. In that case chatGPT acts like a little child that made a mistake and makes up more facts to cover it. Please be aware that all other answers about the wet plate process and so on contains also false information (I won’t explain everything, but for insiders it’s fun to read). As always, if you are interested in that process, take a workshop or read a book (chatGPT tells you the same). Enjoy the answers guys (You need to open some screenshots in a new browser tab to be able to read them):
How does a digital camera that loads analog film look like?
I asked that question Midjourney and got these results 🙂