AI…or Else?

On AI, Photography, and Creative Work

Recently, there’s been much talk about using AI, incorporating AI in our creative work, and the copyright issues that can follow. Many Big Tech companies are already using AI at a fast, furious, and sometimes (seemingly) frightening pace. And they’re not the only ones.

Nowadays, there’s always an AI-related story that makes the headlines: robots writing articles, taking pictures (no, I wouldn’t say “make” pictures, not just yet, anyway) and even winning photo contests, and so on.

Lights. Camera. Action. Studio lights. Photo by Alina Oswald.

So, what are human creatives to do?

When I started freelancing, many years ago, I was given plenty of tips, some more useful than others:

  • create for free (or “for credit”); or charge next to nothing, if you dare think your work is good enough to charge money for, in the first place
  • stay in your lane and be patient
  • write what you know

“Into the Sunset” ©Alina Oswald.

There are multiple issues with each and every one of these “tips.”

Working “for free” doesn’t usually bring in paid work, but rather more “free” work. And how are creatives expected to pay their bills with credits?

Be patient? Again, it does make sense, to a certain point. Most creatives have to pay their dues and learn, find and develop a voice (an artist voice, that is), build a portfolio, and so on. But if they’re told over and over and over again to “be patient” and made believe that they’re not quite good enough…to get paid for their work or featured or whatnot, then they’re pushed, shoved down a rabbit hole, an endless down-road spiral meant to drag them into a wrong and dangerous direction…and out of the competition.

And then there’s the matter of ageism. If, as a creative, you’re “patient” for too long, you’ll find out that when you’re experienced, knowledgable, and good enough to have your work finally featured, some are looking for young and fresh voices. And yet, when you were a “young and fresh voice” they didn’t bother with you, rather told you to be patient and wait….

Write what you know? “What you know” is a starting point, but I’d say, write what you’re interested in or are drawn to. Use that as a source of inspiration! Research it, write about it, photograph it, reimagine it, or make art inspired by it. And in the process, learn, evolve, and grow as a creative. You might even discover other sources of inspiration. Other ideals, goals, and dreams that you yearn to reach, at least through your artwork.

Creature. Abstract Photography in B&W. ©Alina Oswald.

And now, when creatives reach the point where they feel comfortable charging what they’re worth, when they’re sought after, and made a name for themselves, now, comes AI to take it all away, in a heartbeat and with no remorse.

I know, I know, we can use AI as a tool in our creative work (think the Adobe Photoshop Neural filters, for one), and much more. But that’s not it. It barely scratches the surface. There are recent reports about AI starting to take on more and more jobs that humans used to do, and not only in the creative realm. And this is only the beginning.

I wonder sometimes if an AI-created artwork can have a soul, or if a soul can be artificially recreated, cloned, or copied. That’s because the artwork that humans create reflects, at least in part, a facet of the artist’s voice and personality, and becomes a window into the artist’s soul. So, how about the art that AI creates?

And also: Can, itself, AI have a soul? And whose soul would AI clone and make its own? Why?

It seems that we’re living in a strange world that’s getting stranger by the minute.

“The Offering” Abstract Hand Self-Portrait in B&W. ©Alina Oswald.

I wonder, what do you think about AI? What’s your take on it?

Please feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts. There’s no right or wrong answer. I’d just love to hear from you.

As always, thanks for stopping by,

Alina Oswald


  1. Well, I’m not against the use of AI in photography but as with everything, it’s all about how much you use all these special affects that are available. I see a lof of pictures online that are so unnatural and for me, that’s not really attractive.
    If AI can help you giving your shot just that little amount of more sharpness, contract, color depth and so on, I would use it too. Sky replacement, no problem in some cases but please with some limits. Skies that look like the ones we may expect on domesday, no thanks 🙂 Maybe some find it artistic, just like a painter is free in the use of his colors, but for me a picture must stay a picture eventualy with a few corrections that support the reality of the original situation. So far my humble opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for sharing! It does make sense! I, too, think that it’s great to use AI as a tool, to make our work easier or to achieve certain creative styles. But as a tool, only.

      Reading your note, the idea of distorting reality came to mind. At least distorting reality in art, and its limits…and purpose, too. AI helps artists making this kind of artwork push their limits. (I’m definitely not one of them. I’ve been creating content for publications for many years, hence, content rooted in reality. And not always, but in general, I’m mostly inspired by the real world and its struggles, in my own work.

      Thanks again for sharing and it’s great to hear from you.

      Appreciate it!


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