Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Photography

with Santiago Lyon, cari ann shim sham*, and Rashed Haq

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Course Description

We are at a watershed moment as artificial intelligence is leaving no corner of our society untouched. Almost every day, we read news of experts predicting AI’s impact upon communication, societal norms, employment, societal structures, the military, and more. AI will either be a great leap forward or a dark and foreboding step backwards. We are left at the mercy of our own imaginations to visualize the outcome.

What is clear is AI will continue to rapidly change the way we live our lives, and this is particularly true for photographers. The impact of AI upon photography is significantly underway. In a world already riddled with concerns about false media and fake news, photojournalists and ethicists question the morality of images generated by AI. Commercial and fashion photographers wonder if their specialized skill sets will be needed at all in the AI era. Fine artists debate the question of creative autonomy, and whether or not humanity can successfully partner in collaboration with AI.

Each of these conversations seem to be shaped by an underlying uncertainty: what does AI mean for the future of photography? How will our consumption of images change, and can ethical discernment be written into code? Will human-driven photography be replaced by AI? Can humanity learn to successfully partner with AI in creative collaboration? What are the benefits and what are the risks to a world of imagery shared by the technology we both fear and love?

To inform and debate these important topics, and likely several more, we have assembled a diverse team of experts in their respective fields to address the future of AI and its impact upon photography in this moderated seminar.

Santiago Lyon, Head of Advocacy and Education for the Adobe-led Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) discusses his three decade-plus career in photojournalism and how his current work is focused on developing and implementing the CAI’s global standard for content provenance as a way of helping photographers and visual consumers understand the origins of digital files. In an era of fast-proliferating generative AI content and easy to use software to manipulate images it is more important than ever that transparency become ubiquitous through secure layers of easy-to-inspect metadata. This, together with media literacy and policy approaches by governments around the world will help in the fight against mis/disinformation.

Wild artist and co-founder of The Museum of Wild and Newfangled Art, cari ann shim sham* discusses the impact of AI informed curation for the Trad Art world and beyond through the research, development, and activation of the exhibition, “This Show is Curated by a Machine.”

Accomplished AI and technology visionary, Rashed Haq says, “with artificial intelligence, robotics, nano technology, genetic engineering and other emerging technologies, I am optimistic about the incredible benefits technology will bring to our future. In the same way that written notes enhance our memory and eye glasses enhance our sight, these new technologies will help us live longer, healthier, happier lives with more human connections.” Rashed shares multiple recent photography projects that explore the co-evolution of humans and technology, and the impact these have on our society, culture, environment, and psychology.

Join our SFW community for this engaging, thought-provoking, and informative conversation about our future as photographers in the face of the ubiquitous influence of artificial intelligence. Each presentation is followed by a Q&A session and a round-table discussing brings the day to a lively close. Even if you can’t make the live program, recordings are available for 4 weeks afterwards for all those registered.

Additional Information


Open to anyone interested in this special program.


View Withdrawal and Transfer Policies for online programs.

For the convenience of participants, recordings of each class session are posted privately for one month after the end of each session. Santa Fe Workshops takes the recordings down after one month to protect the intellectual property of our instructors.

Applications, One-of-a-Kind
Santiago Lyon

Santiago Lyon is the Head of Advocacy and Education for the Adobe-led Content Authenticity Initiative, working to combat misinformation through digital content provenance. He has more than 35 years of experience in photography as an award-winning photojournalist, photo editor, media executive and educator. As a photographer for Reuters and the Associated Press he won multiple photojournalism awards for his coverage of conflicts around the globe between 1989-1999.

In 2003/2004 he was a Nieman Fellow in journalism at Harvard University before being named VP/Director of Photography at the Associated Press, a position he held until 2016. Under his direction the AP won three Pulitzer Prizes for photography as well as multiple other major photojournalism awards around the world. He was Chair of the Jury for the 2013 World Press Photo contest. Lyon serves on the board of directors of the Eddie Adams Workshop and the advisory board of the VII Foundation. He also teaches regularly at the International Center of Photography in New York.

cari ann shim sham*

cari ann shim sham*, co-founder and curator for the Museum of Wild and Newfangled Art, is an award winning wild artist working in AI, VR & XR, Inflatables, Cinema, Photography, Video Art, Theater, Opera, Dance, blockchain, and Web3 with 3 decades of programming, producing, and directing film, music, and dance festivals. With a curation practice two decades deep, she creates equitable spaces that cultivate new ideas for sustainable arts practices and offers free submission and innovative programming for new artists with a focus on dance film, vr, ar, xr, nfts, ai, generative art, web3 and interactive installation.  She is very active in web3 and co-founded mowna, a digital museum, with Joey Zaza in 2020. Together with Zaza and IV she developed an AI curator for the mowna exhibit “This Show is Curated by a Machine” which aimed for a more equitable, diversified and non-biased approach to curation.

As an artist her work has shown at notable venues such as Cannes, United Nations General Assembly, Samsung Developers conference, Future of Storytelling, Jacob’s Pillow, REDCAT, & BAM. Four of her dance films are distributed by Routeledge and she is the first video artist to redesign Rauschenberg’s ‘Shiner’ for “Set & Reset, Reset” by the Trisha Brown company. She is currently investigating blockchain GIF archival of performance on Tezos, developing an AI choreographer, and is a full Arts Professor of Dance & Technology at NYU, TISCH Dance Department. In her free time she enjoys free diving with dolphins, going to contact improv jams, and hunting wild edible mushrooms.

Rashed Haq

Rashed Haq is a Bangladeshi-American artist, scientist, and technologist. He learned photography in the darkroom in Rochester and then was trained as a mathematical physicist, going on to do research on black holes and astrophysics. Rashed’s art explores the co-evolution of humans and technology, and the impact these have on our society, culture, environment, and psychology.

Rashed uses a combination of photography and software algorithms in his artistic practice, many of the techniques having been used in software engineering. He has recently had over 40 solo and group exhibitions across North America, and his work is in various private and corporate collections. He was awarded the Art+Science award from Lenscratch, and the COMPAS Photography award from Oxford University. His 2020 book Enterprise AI Transformation with Wiley Press was named one of the “100 Best Technology eBooks of All Time” by Book Authority.

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