AI and in particular generative AI is rapidly changing how images can be produced. With all the hype and fear, I feel it is necessary to describe my approach to photography. Machine learning tools and generative AI are the latest tools for image production. Their use range from enhancing images, isolating parts of an image, colourising black and white photos, to generating entirely new images. Machine learning is also used inside cameras for subject and eye detection and automatic exposure. They follow a long list of tools for image manipulation both digital and analogue. In the end, the image producer choses the tools according to their aims.
I enjoy taking photos of the things I see. I do not necessarily have an aim or a message I want to convey. My images are mostly just visual. They follow my aesthetics and consist of geometry, lights and shadows and sometimes also colour. The subjects are given by what is available to me. I like taking photos of the city because it is where I live. I like taking photos of insects because they are easily found and I enjoy the technical challenge of taking photos of them. I enjoy taking photos of industry and machines because of their interesting shapes and structures. I am fascinated by dereliction because decay includes aspects of both the man-made and the natural.
I am less interested in the final image as this would require a message. I am interested in the process of taking the image, in noticing something with my eyes, finding the right perspective and using the available situation. My subjects tend to be static or slow-moving. My camera, although well sophisticated, is set to manual mode and single point focus. I want to control exposure and aperture and focus point. I do use the camera to help me set exposure and focus. Often I miss an image because my camera is in the wrong mode. I adjust crop and exposure in post-processing. I convert many images to black and white to reduce complexity and focus on the structure of the image. Sometimes, I brush out a bird in the sky or branches of a tree on the edge of the image that do not fit the composition. I very much enjoy the digital workflow, of not having to wait for films to be processed and being able to easily adjust the images. The sensor of my camera allows me to adjust exposure and has a high enough resolution allowing me to re-crop the image. I did use digital art filters in the past to make some images look old, mostly to hide the fact that my camera then struggled with the poor light conditions.
Generative AI focuses on the end result and by-passes the process of actually seeing the subject in reality. Therefore, I am not interested in that tool and will not use it. All my images are the real thing with very little processing.