About Us

In March 2023 a group of photography professionals, from a variety of major organizations, began meeting out of a concern that the credibility of photographs published in the press could be compromised by the emergence of photorealistic images created using artificial intelligence (AI). We felt a need for clear ethical standards to help guide photojournalists, photo editors and media organizations in response to the emergence of AI image creation tools.

Over half-a-year we met regularly as a group, with representatives from World Press Photo, Magnum Photos, the National Press Photographers Association, SVA NY, the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, and various independent photographers and editors. The result is Writing with Light: a website with a Statement of Principles and other resources to help photographers, editors, and readers, navigate this new era of rapidly emerging artificial intelligence systems.

Writing with Light is a group of individuals and organizations that advocate for authenticity and credibility in visual journalism and documentary photography. We are not an enforcement body, and our purpose is not to enforce standards. We feel an obligation to contribute to this discussion, we hope that these standards (or ones inspired by them) will be widely adopted by individuals and news organizations, and that they will help lead to a larger discussion on the integrity and future of visual journalism.

Fred Ritchin
Dean Emeritus of the International Center of Photography

Fred Ritchin is Dean Emeritus of the International Center of Photography, former picture editor of the New York Times Magazine, and author of three books on the future of imaging. A fourth book, The Synthetic Eye, on photography in the age of artificial intelligence, will be published next year by Thames & Hudson.

Brian Palmer
Independent journalist

Brian is a Peabody Award-winning multimedia journalist. He represents the School of Visual Arts in NYC and is an adjunct at Columbia Journalism School. He does not use image generators or generative artificial intelligence in the production of his journalism.

The School of Visual Arts is a university in New York City that educates artists, designers, and creative professionals. The school, founded in 1947, has among its 31 programs animation, design, illustration, film, photography and video, visual and critical studies, and fine arts.

Marshall Mayer
at http://take-note.com

Mayer, the developer of this “social comment photography” website http://take-note.com, edits this website’s bibliography and is working to establish a photographer’s authority over their photos in their camera’s software.

Larry Towell
Magnum Photos
Freelance photographer

Larry joined Magnum Photos in 1988.

He is the author of sixteen books of photography that focus on international conflict, human rights, and issues of land and landlessness. He joined the Writing with Light committee as a working photographer and Magnum representative.

Elizabeth Kilroy

Elizabeth is an adjunct professor at NYU Photography & Imaging and SVA MFA Photography, Video and Related Media and former chair at New Media Narratives at ICP. She is a creative technologist and artist and is the designer of this website. Although she works extensively in AI Art, she strongly affirms the statement of principles and believes that photography and AI art are entirely different mediums.

Mark E. Johnson
Principal Lecturer of Photojournalism, University of Georgia

Mark E. Johnson oversees the University of Georgia visual journalism program, directs the National Press Photographers Association Best of Photojournalism competition and is the chief technology officer for the College of Journalism and Mass Communication. His work and teaching is rooted in being present when newsworthy events happen and producing accurate and truthful visual documentation that helps communities understand the issues they are facing.

Anna Lena Mehr
Contest Director, World Press Photo

As Contest Director at the World Press Photo Foundation, Anna Lena is in charge of the annual photo contest that celebrates the best photojournalism and documentary photography of the last year.

Mickey H. Osterreicher
General Counsel, National Press Photographers Association (NPPA)

Mickey H. Osterreicher, serves as general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) where he deals with such issues as copyright and press access. He is an award winning photojournalist with over forty years of experience in both print and broadcasting.


Magnum Photos is a cooperative of acclaimed, independent photographers who share an ongoing commitment to documenting world events, people, places, daily life and culture. Founded in 1947, Magnum Photos has been telling stories of the past, defining the present, and shaping the future through photography for over 75 years, united by its values of uncompromising excellence, truth, respect and independence. With more than 6.6 million followers across the internet, and a rolling program of museum shows, exhibitions, and events across the globe, Magnum photographers continue to inspire a growing worldwide audience. Find out more at: magnumphotos.com

World Press Photo

World Press Photo was founded in 1955 when a group of Dutch photographers organized a contest (“World Press Photo”) to expose their work to an international audience. Since then, World Press Photo’s mission has expanded. The contest has grown into one of the world’s most prestigious competitions, rewarding the best in photojournalism and documentary photography from around the world. Through the successful worldwide exhibition program, World Press Photo presents the stories that matter to millions of people every year.

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