In various experiments, series were created that dealt with authenticity in photography, not to refute it, but to ensure its relevance for documentary photography and at the same time keep the field of imaging open. After all, with the student research project on Lady Di and the New Photographer (1988), it was clear that photography would not be spared from the digital revolution and was steadily approaching the freedom of painting.
But what impact will the new developments in computer and AI-generated image processing and image production have on photography in general and documentary photography in particular?
The introduction of artificial intelligence creates completely new possibilities in the generation of images. For the first time, AI image generators bring together all the imaging techniques known from art history in a single tool that can be used by any computer user without special expertise. They can be used to create images that look like photographs but are not photographs. We are entering a new world in which authentic photos and AI-generated photographic imitations will compete with each other in forming our view of the world and history.
This makes it all the more important to engage with the origins and nature of photography in order to understand the dimension of the new images: The work Die Welt der Neuen Bilder (only in German language) has now been created as part of the Digitalis cycle. Three essays analyse the history of technology and perception in photography, explain the new and innovative nature of AI, provide an outlook on the composition of political events and describe the future role of documentary photography and its producers.