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  5. Uno reverse! Photographer wins ‘best AI image’ award using a real photo, sends message on nature’s unmatched creativity

Uno reverse! Photographer wins ‘best AI image’ award using a real photo, sends message on nature’s unmatched creativity

Uno reverse! Photographer wins ‘best AI image’ award using a real photo, sends message on nature’s unmatched creativity
Present-day social media and the webscape as a whole have been infiltrated by fake AI-generated content, blurring the lines between reality and fabrication. Capitalising on this trend, a photographer recently pulled off a clever twist, by winning a ‘best AI image’ award with an actual photograph!

To be fair, Miles Astray’s photograph of a headless flamingo appeared so surreal, only AI could have made it up. From quirky proportions and missing parts to a bizarre vibe overall, it embodied the hallmarks of AI imagery.

Titled “F L A M I N G O N E,” the photo seized third place in the AI category of the 1839 AwardsColor Photography Contest and even won the People’s Vote award.


While it's difficult to believe that this image wasn’t generated by any AI tool, it’s actually true. Astray took this shot on the beaches of Aruba two years ago. Although the photo was later disqualified when Astray revealed its true origin, it had already achieved its intended impact.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Astray shared that “F L A M I N G O N E” was designed to deliver a compelling message about nature’s unmatched creativity, which he believes surpasses anything AI can replicate.

He further intended to provoke thought about the rapidly evolving capabilities of AI imagery, which is becoming indistinguishable from genuine photography.

“What are the implications and the pitfalls of that? I think that is a very important conversation that we need to be having right now,” Astray stated, emphasising the urgency of addressing these concerns.

The revelation drew an overwhelmingly positive response, with social media users flooding Astray with “hilarious, thoughtful and heartfelt comments”. Despite disqualifying his entry for not fitting the AI category, the contest organisers, too, appreciated the “powerful message” Astray’s submission conveyed.

The real story behind the photograph can be found on Miles Astray’s website.

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