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Use of AI

A word from Alex Mustard about the use of AI in UPY

Alex on AI

“At UPY we know you want your work judged against shooters not computers,” says Alex.

“It means we’re taking the proliferation of AI imagery very seriously at UPY. Our rules have always outlawed AI images, but for UPY2024 we’ve toughened up our stance, rules and process so you can enter knowing it’s a fair playing-field. We also know that millions of members of the public who will see the winners also want to know that they were created by a person underwater with a camera.

“UPY rules now specifically state that while we allow processing, using AI software to generate entire pictures or to generate parts of photos is strictly forbidden. We’ve always reserved the right to check the RAW files of our winners where necessary, but from this year we will now request and check the RAW files of all shortlisted images before confirming placings, specifically to check for AI content. We know lots of you love how quicky we share how each of your images have done in UPY in our custom results system. These additional checks will mean that it will take several extra days to confirm the results, but hopefully it gives you confidence that you are being judged fairly.

“We also ask you to ensure that your camera’s EXIF data remain embedded in your JPG entry files, which allows the judges to quickly check your camera settings during judging and ensure that these are consistent with the contents of the frame. AI programs are not typically setup to fake these.

“It is important to stress that UPY has always allowed photographers to express your creativity through processing. We allow cleaning of backscatter, removal of UFOs (Unwanted Floating Objects – like your buddy’s fin) and digital manipulation as long as it is you at the helm of the Photoshop or Lightroom controls. We are also OK with the use of AI noise reduction tools etc. The RAW file check is to prevent images where AI software has been used to generation the entire picture or new content within the frame.

“We are also introducing a lifetime ban from UPY for anyone who is caught trying to dupe the contest and cheat the other entrants by entering AI generated images. This is the case whether we spot them during judging, or whether they somehow slip through and are later revealed as AI images. We also reserve the right to claim damages from any entrant trying to win prizes while blatantly going against the contest rules. To our loyal entrants we hope that these changes give you confidence when entering the contest.