The end of photography as we know it

You think fake skies are technologically amazing, but sketchy.
Check out what is coming soon to Photoshop:

Eh, people have been saying this about Chat GPT being the end of novels or something and I don’t buy it. AI will change some things, but people who make original things will still be needed and valued, if only to make what AI works from. AI cannot create - it can only borrow and extrapolate from what already exists. Certain kinds of photography will be affected, product and food, lifestyle - stuff like that, but there will still be a need for people to do some of that work. When Apple comes out with new Purple Widget that no one can live without, AI won’t be the first thing to show it to you or write about it. A person will. As new items and concepts are invented, someone has to describe or photograph or depict them first - only then can any kind of AI write a description or show you a picture. A person has to do it first.

Ebooks were not the end of physical books.
Streaming and iTunes were not the end of records.
AI will not be the end of photography.

But I wonder if there will be an uptick in film sales. Like with vinyl - it’s a physical medium that has a realism and tactility that people appreciate. Analog recordings have a quality to them that their physicality contributes. Like a piano with strings versus an electronic piano - the sound similar, but not the same. Film has a look that can be imitated, but not replicated; not perfectly. Interesting times.

Looks like Pentax is going to give it a go -

And for some of the same reasons I wrote about - the tactility of film cameras and the imperfect process.


I find the new AI PS both amazing and appalling. It won’t end photography as we have known it, but I think it will vastly change the perspective of the general public that view our work. It will become assumed that a photographer used AI and all or part of it is fake. My take, anyway.

It will not affect my work, since I photograph for my own satisfaction and reward. But I suspect outlooks on photography in general will greatly shift.


I agree, Harley - people have been using the word Photoshopped to indicate fakery for a long time now, but I think the assumption Photoshop was used to fake things all the time was pretty low. Now I think most people are going to assume fake from the start as a default and proving that it isn’t is going to be on us - I see a lot of disclaimers and truth statements being associated with certain work. Especially the more amazing, beautiful or just too darn perfect a photo is, the more suspect it will become. Having to put in hard work to achieve those ends is going to be less and less important for a finished product. The process of photography itself is something a person has to really love and enjoy and, more than ever, only be important to the photographer. For a long time now no one really cares how hard it was to capture something, they only care about the final product.


I agree with you guys and I think that in general the perceived value of photography as an art form will go down – even further than it is now. I kind of think that people’s distrust of photography will grow so much that people will back away from putting photographs on their walls and choose other more traditional decorations like paintings and other types of wall art like things made of wood or metal. Obviously, I’m not talking about pictures of family, friends or vacation shots that bring back memories, those will continue to grace people’s walls, but rather art that they purchase.

I also think that AI will spell the end of stock photography as we know it. Maybe not the high end market but microstock for sure. Why search for an image that is kind of close to what you have in mind when you can use AI to “design” something that is a perfect fit? The market for product shots for catalogs and e-shops will dry up too I think, so yes, I think a lot will change.

Maybe it’s a good thing though. Maybe this AI will bring photography back from being a commodity to more of an art form. I hope that AI will bring about another kind of revolution where people will be so fed up with all of the fakeness and will seek out and actually buy photographs created by real humans.

Where does all of this leave me? I’m really not sure. I do sell stock and a print here and there so who knows. I do know that my love of photography and the enjoyment I get from being out and creating with my camera will not change.

I don’t see this as being any more the end of photography than the beginning of the digital era ended photography. Some people will use it a lot, some people won’t. Most non-photographers won’t even be aware that it’s there except for the occasional news article about someone trying to pass off a modified image as unmodified.

Even for the people who use it, there will be different skill levels, more or less attention to detail, and level of effort. I can see looking through someones portfolio and wondering why so many images have the same sky (albeit a very spectacular one), or where they found the unicorns.

And I don’t think the people who want art to stick on their walls will care how it was generated. Certainly the interior decorators that arrange books by color or who strew around a slew of second hand books in Norwegian aren’t going to care as long as it suits the decor. Collectors might, but how many people are there that seriously collect photographic art?

I suspect the main uses of AI will be the same as the main uses of traditional Photoshop techniques: Making models look impossibly thin and removing zits from senior pictures.

1 Like

I just read this quote from Ansel Adams: “Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs.” I’m not sure when he said it, but I am wondering if this is still true today?