Photography’s ability to record specific moments of reality has made it a powerful documentary tool over the past century. Since the recent public release of generative artificial intelligence, synthetic images that strongly resemble photos are now quickly being added to the record, undermining the intuitive trust in photos and scrambling the links between images and reality.
What can practitioners, publishers, and educators do to resist the erosion of trust in documentary photography? What are the new tools, vocabulary, and ethics needed to adapt to this technological upheaval?
Fred Ritchin, Dean Emeritus of the School at the International Center of Photography and former picture editor of the New York Times Magazine, speaks with VII photographer Tomas van Houtryve about the risks and opportunities that AI presents to the documentary photography community.