In 1979, Buggles lamented that Video Killed the Radio Star. Fortunately, this turned out to be premature. Today radio is still very much alive. Looking to the future, however, will we photographers look back and lament that it was software like Luminar AI that killed landscape photography.
Take a look at this short video about Luminar AI.
Just replace the sky, ‘with a more dramatic one’. ‘Add sunrays to make the image more interesting’. ‘A little mist to add atmosphere’. ‘Add lots of contrast’. ‘Automatically change all your images by applying an AI template’.
AI is changing photography.
Is AI Just Post Processing?
Are the Luminar AI changes any different from what we do manually in post-processing, or do they represent a threat to the way we do our photography?
The debate around how we process images will I guess will run and run. I have never had any truck with those who insist on capturing the image, ‘in camera’. I love shooting in RAW and using Lightroom and Photoshop, to make images pop. Surely that is just bringing out the best from the image that was there? Better communicating what it was I saw on the day when the photograph was taken.
What I think I object to, is that with one click it is possible to homogenise all landscape photographs to look the same, and that is boring. It destroys authenticity and integrity. How quickly will it take us to get fed up with a sunrise. How do we know it was real? Was it there when the image was taken? Or did the photographer roll out of bed at mid-day?
The result will be a change in the way we look at landscape photography. We will no longer believe the perfect landscape. Take a look on any day at some of the popular landscapes on 500px. I can’t believe it’s not butter. So many landscapes with red skies, mist and reflections. Were they really captured that way? Or is it AI?
Is it Me?
Is this the way photography is going? Ten years ago the same debate raged around Photoshop and now most of us photographers just love it. We also accept CGI in movies. So will we learn to live with AI?
I think so.
We are human, we will adapt, and because we are human we will learn to bend and control it. Afterall it will always be the creative input that is most important, and robots cannot replace that just yet!