Behold the Future

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  • Title: Behold the Future: Implications of Automated Image Analysis for the Photographic Arts
  • Author(s): K. Michael Peddecord
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Image
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Image
  • Keywords: Photographic Arts, Aesthetic Evaluation, Computer Assisted, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Image Analysis
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 1
  • Date: March 24, 2022
  • ISSN: 2154-8560 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8579 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Peddecord, K. Michael. 2022. "Behold the Future: Implications of Automated Image Analysis for the Photographic Arts." The International Journal of the Image 13 (1): 47-62. doi:10.18848/2154-8560/CGP/v13i01/47-62.
  • Extent: 16 pages

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Abstract: The increasing capabilities of computer-aided photograph enhancement and analysis have impacted many aspects of consumer and commercial photography. However, there is limited attention to the impact of this growing enterprise on photography and photographic arts. The use of computer imaging technologies, especially techniques based on artificial intelligence (AI), are now being developed to analyze the aesthetic qualities or beauty of photographic images. This essay reviews a selection of relevant technical papers, websites, and newsletters. Using accepted elements of photo quality, the status of automated aesthetic photo analysis (AAPA) is evaluated. In addition, the extent to which AAPA potentially affects various genres of photography is described. The discussion focuses on the current state of the art, limitations of automated aesthetic photo analysis research, and lack of literature from the academic photographic arts field. As the field of computational photography continues to grow, it is likely that aesthetic analysis of images will become useful for consumer and hobbyist photography. In the near future, it is unlikely that AAPA and commercial software using this AI technology will have a significant impact on the aesthetic evaluation of commercial and fine art photography. However, give the pervasive use of computer-aided processing of images, it is essential that serious photographers and photographic artists confront the elephant in the room: Who is the maker of the image—computer or human?