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  • Timothy Morris

Navigating AI Horizons: Synthography, Wedding Photography, and Ethical Considerations

Amidst the landscapes of Maine, wedding photography is evolving with the introduction of Synthography – a process utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to craft images. As we explore the dynamics of AI in this creative realm, it's crucial to address the ethical considerations that accompany the integration of AI into the artistry of capturing love stories.

Defining Synthography:

Synthography, driven by AI algorithms, redefines how we perceive wedding photography. Unlike traditional methods that capture genuine moments, Synthography generates entire scenes, offering a novel perspective on wedding days through the lens of artificial intelligence. Here's a sample of a synthograph I created using an online tool:

AI Edits, Synthography, and Ethical Dilemmas:

While AI-assisted edits have become common in refining photos, Synthography raises ethical concerns as it creates entirely new compositions. The primary dilemma lies in the potential detachment from reality, where AI-generated scenes might present an idealized version of events, blurring the line between authenticity and artifice. Synthography can sometimes set expectations too high as to what is possible. However, synthographs (AI images) can be used to demonstrate a concept or create an artistic representation of an idea that may otherwise be physically impossible. AI can be used to a much lower extent to do what photographers have been doing for years with Photoshop, just faster. Occasionally I'll use Photoshop's built-in AI tool to remove objects such as traffic cones or poles, this is something I was doing before manually but I do it a little faster using AI as a tool. However, if a couple is not comfortable with me using AI as a tool for these small edits I give them the option to opt out and I preform those same tasks manually. Here's a sample of a photo before and after using AI to remove background objects:

The Risks of Perfection:

Synthography's ability to create flawless, hyper-realistic images poses ethical challenges. The temptation to present an idealized version of reality may lead to unrealistic expectations and perceptions. The risk of conveying an unattainable standard in wedding photography raises questions about the impact on couples and their memories. This is why it's important to ask to what extent your wedding photographer has used AI in their portfolio to properly set expectations.

Intellectual Property and Ownership:

Another ethical dilemma revolves around the ownership of AI-generated art. As AI algorithms contribute significantly to the creative process, determining the rightful owner becomes complex. It prompts a reevaluation of copyright laws and intellectual property rights in the context of AI-generated content.

Transparency and Informed Consent:

Clients engaging with AI-assisted photography, particularly Synthography, deserve transparency regarding the creative process. Ethical standards should prioritize informed consent, ensuring that couples are aware of the extent of AI involvement in crafting their wedding memories. This is part of the big push to label synthography as its own art, to make it easier for people to distinguish what they're looking at.

As Maine's wedding photography landscape embraces AI innovations, the ethical considerations surrounding Synthography cannot be overlooked. Striking a balance between technological advancements and ethical responsibility is crucial to preserving the authenticity and integrity of cherished moments. Couples, photographers, and the industry as a whole must engage in thoughtful discussions to navigate the evolving landscape of AI artistry, ensuring that the ethical compass guides the creation of wedding memories that remain true and genuine.

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