Inside this issue
Aesthetics, Experience, Process & Meaning
Professional photographic artist, author and speaker working primarily in the Western US.
Where there is delight in a process, there will be style, and the activity of production will itself have aesthetic quality. But when men assimilate themselves to machines and value only the consequences of their work, not the work itself, style disappears, to be replaced by something which to the mechanised man appears more natural, though in fact it is only more brutal.~Bertrand Russell
Several photographers of note have expressed concern recently about the increasingly popular use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to generate photo-realistic images.
Thus, the more important question is not whether AI can produce photographic images more effectively and prolifically than humans can (there is little doubt that this is, or soon will be, the case) but whether works of human-made art deserve some special consideration beyond that afforded to other manufactured objects: a consideration linking their value intrinsically with some desirable human experience inherent in the method of their creation. This is why many artisanal (human-produced) products, including such things as cabinetry, pottery, gourmet food, and portraiture, still persist and are highly valued even when technology exists that can produce them more cheaply and en masse. This likely will be the case for artisanal photography, too. However, as was the case with other artisanal disciplines, there is little doubt that the introduction of automated photographic technology will diminish greatly the number of people who may be able to earn a living from practising photography professionally, and these few will by necessity possess uncommon and difficult-to-achieve excellence in craftsmanship, creativity, and aesthetic sense.