Prof Peeter Linnap made a presentation at the “AI and Photography” conference

Head of the Department of Photography, prof Peeter Linnap was invited to this year’s Bratislava European Photo Month 2023 conference with an innovative theme of AI and its implications in photography.

Central European House of Photography in Bratislava is a long-standing partner of Pallas. The two organizations have already done several exhibitions together, including in 2019. The Central European House of Photography keeps up with the times with amazing ease, while the topic of the previous conference was digital photography and surveillance, now the analysis of AI was undertaken in the context of images, specifically photography.

Peeter Linnap describes that the British philosopher and lecturer at Nottingham Polytech Marx Kandhola talked at the conference about the use of AI in teaching and learning. The presenter remained positive about the possibilities of AI, pointing out a series of innovations that AI will enable in teaching. Ethical issues were important here from the so-called beginning, according to Kandhola the use and application of AI must be taught with full knowledge of what goes with it.

Max de Esteban from Spain is already an “old” user of AI in art, as is Boris Eldagsen from Germany. Will photography still be photography after AI is implemented? Is it necessary to be afraid that copyright protection will lose its meaning altogether? Who is the author when AI is used? While the Eldagsen has experimented with teasing the audience with “as if documentary” with his AI-generated photos, Esteban took it more seriously: yes, „promptography“ is an entirely new field, it’s no longer just „photography“, etc.

Peeter Linnap mainly focused on the philosophical consequences of AI in his presentation and discussed how, more precisely, creation and authorship are still possible in the context of technical means. In an environment where the tools are collectively created, copyright issues are no longer so simple. He tried to remove the old sci-fi oppositions between robot-human, creator-program and individual-collective creation. After all, programs are conceptualized models of human passions, desires, aspirations, etc., and they are certainly not extra-human. Therefore, in his opinion, neither fears a la “AI will take over” or “the author is dead again and even more than before” are justified. Peeter Linnap says that time will shake things up with AI, and unnecessary fears will disappear, as they once did in relation to photography as a whole, or especially vividly in relation to the digitization of photography and cinema.

Cover photo: Hybrid conference “AI and Photography”. Bratislava European Photo Month 4 Nov 2023. View of the hall 04.11.2023