Why One Photographer Thinks ‘AI Is the Best Thing to Ever Happen to Photography’

An analog photographer has stuck his head above the parapet to claim that AI-generated images are “the best thing that has happened to photography.”

Ari Jaaksi says that while he doesn’t care for AI images himself, he is more interested in the effect AI will have on photography. And unlike a great many number of photographers — he is excited.

“AI is the best thing that has ever happened to photography,” Jaaksi explains on his YouTube channel.

Comparing the Invention of AI to the Invention of Photography

Jaaksi rightly points out that when photography was invented in the mid-19th century it had a huge effect on illustrators and painters. For example, British photographer Roger Fenton was the first photographer to cover a war (Crimea in 1854) and it meant that newspaper editors ran his photos rather than illustrations.

And everyday folks could hire a photographer for a family portrait instead of a far more expensive painter.

“Suddenly, photographers started to eat that lunch…It democratized a lot of imagery — now everyone could get their picture taken,” he says.

Jaaksi claims that while some painters lost work, it liberated the art of painting from everyday tasks such as newspaper illustration or humdrum portraits.

“Those pictures were now taken by the photographer so now painters needed to go elsewhere,” he says.

“Painters could pour their soul into the paintings and create imagery of whatever they wanted. The hired gun business was gone, the art was the new way to go.”

Jaaksi points to the new art styles that emerged after photography’s introduction — such as impressionism, expressionism, and surrealism.

He believe something similar happened 150 years later when digital photography was invented and film photography became anarchical.

“Digital photography actually liberated film photography for creative things,” he says.

“Now film photographers who chose to continue didn’t need to do the boring daily business-oriented stuff. It was the digital photographer who went and took the pictures of the apartments for sale, or portrait pictures of a newborn baby, or wedding images, et cetera.”

Here Comes AI

Jaaksi says that with the advent of AI, if a company needs an image for a slideshow; or someone needs a photo of a flower — they no longer need to pay for a photograph. They can generate the image with just “a couple of keystrokes.”

Beautiful girls on Instagram are AI-generated, beautiful landscapes are AI-generated. Little by little, AI is making certain types of photography obsolete.”

He says that progress can be painful. But adds, “AI can liberate those of us who can be liberated.”

“We can take photography to places that it hasn’t been to before,” he says.