Human artist beats AI, but it’s coming back with a vengeance

While a non-AI image has taken out a win at an AI awards program, news of Meta scraping social posts for data has sent artists reeling.
Miles Astray, 'FLAMINGONE', 2024, entered into the 1839 Awards AI category and subsequently disqualified. Photo: Courtesy of the artist. The pink body of a flamingo with this head hidden, standing on a white sandy beach.

Recently, a work of a flamingo with its head hidden from view was selected as a bronze winner in the AI category of the 1839 Awards for photography. The catch? The photograph wasn’t created with AI.

Miles Astray, who captured the image, purposefully entered his photograph into the Awards’ AI category to interrogate how people are lagging behind technological advancements. Upon unveiling that the work was indeed human-made, Astray’s win was disqualified. The photo, titled FLAMINGONE, was also selected by the public for the People’s Choice Award.

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Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. She took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs and was the project manager of ArtsHub’s diverse writers initiative, Amplify Collective. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne and was most recently engaged in consultation for the Emerging Writers’ Festival and ArtsGen. Instagram @lleizy_