When we go to the movies, we accept with no explanation that what we’ve seen is “just a movie”. Now, because of the existence of AI, confusion reigns in photography. Whereas I am not against the existence of AI pictures, I am opposed to them being passed off as “real” in journalism. Because AI is just what the term says: “artificial”.
AI has nothing to do with what I do. For forty years I have documented with photos and words the lives and worlds of those who, for whatever reasons, live apart from the rest of us. The photos I make and subsequently use to recount the truth of what I see are those I consider the best images and those that best tell the story. I use the language of images, along with that of words, to document the world I’ve had the privilege to enter and participate in through my questions, my observations and my camera. As an honest photojournalist, I don’t extrapolate or lie with words, and I don’t do that with images, either.
Usually, I manage to establish a trust between myself and the people I photograph. I assume they expect good pictures from me, yes–but especially honesty, even when most of them might not say so explicitly. For the most part, I’ve concentrated on those who live in distress. It goes without saying that after I explain why I choose to spend time with them and take their pictures, the photos I make and subsequently use will express the truth, their truth as I have seen it and mine as I have lived it with them. That is the heart of the process.
To betray the trust established between us is simply not in the equation and would be unthinkable.
I’m against photos created by AI being used to tell a truth that only real photos can tell.
Jane Evelyn Atwood