Photographer Miles Estray has been disqualified from the 1839 Awards photo contest after his real-life photo took third place and won the People’s Choice Award in the category of images with artificial intelligence. This was reported by PetaPixel.

The photographer submitted a very real, albeit surreal, photo of a flamingo in the AI category at the Color Photography contest. The work is called Flamingone.

 Color Photography Awards

“After seeing recent instances of AI-generated imagery beating actual photos in competitions, I started thinking about turning the story and its implications around by submitting a real photo into an AI competition,” says the photographer.

The Color Photography Awards are judged by people who work for The New York Times, Getty Images, Phaidon Press, Christie’s and Maddox Gallery. Obviously, none of them could say that Estrei’s photo was real.

The organizers of the competition said that while they appreciated Astray’s “powerful message,” his work was disqualified in favor of other participants.

“Our contest categories are specifically defined to ensure fairness and clarity for all participants,” says a company representative. “We understand that was the point, but we don’t want to prevent other artists from their shot at winning in the AI category.”

The organizers also note that this event can give more confidence to other photographers who are concerned about the problems of generative AI.

Astray’s victory proves that despite the tremendous development of technology, human talent still matters.