By Excio Photo Community profile image Excio Photo Community
5 min read


It is time we come together to celebrate and share real, authentic, captivating photography.

According to the latest data, there are now more than 15 billion images generated with AI, with 34 million AI images created daily.

Let that sink in.

More than half of these images have nothing to do with photography – including illustrations, mockups, infographics, logos, and so on.

Most other 'photorealistic' images will never be used publicly – those generated for mood boards, brainstorming ideas, or simply as multiple variations of the same images.

However, a significant number of the remaining images will still be utilised, published, and shared.

AI image generated on Adobe Stock that was recently used by Genesis Energy in their PowerShout campaign

Creating fake reality

Who needs them, you may ask? These photorealistic images are generated mostly by businesses, marketers, and designers.

You are probably wondering why there's a sudden surge in image creation. Was this need present before the advent of AI? How did those people manage without AI? It's challenging to recall what the creative world looked like just two years ago. Traditionally, people needing images relied on artwork provided by illustrators and designers, or photographs captured by photographers.

Here lies the paradox: Despite millions of photographs available on stock photography platforms, only about 1% of photographers worldwide offer their photos for sale online. Why? The majority don't see any return, a situation further demotivated by AI-generated content flooding the stock photography platforms, demotivating photographers from uploading their work even further.

The obstacles created by stock photography marketplaces, such as the demand for 'sterile' photos, the need for model and property releases, and the confusion caused by numerous licensing tiers, have resulted in a homogenisation of content. As an example, Wellington is mostly depicted through various images of the red Cable Car and the Beehive.

Some popular photographs of "Wellington, New Zealand' on iStock

Auckland is synonymous with the Sky Tower.

Some popular photographs of 'Auckland, New Zealand' on iStock

Searching for a photo of a local park in Lower Hutt? You're unlikely to find one, as it's not what stock image platforms deem 'in demand' or universal (also known as a 'cash cow' that can be sold and resold all over the world).

Photography is a language. It's a visual language. Communicating with only 1% of available visuals significantly limits expression. It's akin to trying to explain something in a language that only has 10 words.

This is precisely why millions of AI-generated images are produced every day.

So, think now if every website you visit, every street poster you see, or any brochure you receive featured AI-generated images.

AI-generated visuals have their place - they're excellent tools for brainstorming, inspiration, and imagination. But do we want AI content to dominate our visual landscape? Do we want to be intentionally deceived? Do we wish to marvel at beautiful locations and wildlife species only to discover they don't exist? To believe we're reading articles and news written by real people until we realise it's all fabricated?


Non-existent place. Video of "a historic church built on a rocky outcropping along the Amalfi Coast, Italy" which in reality looks nothing like this, generated by OpenAI Sora

Real photograph of Amalfi Coast, Italy

Rather than relying on fake representations of places, people, concepts, and products, we'd have access to any photograph and photographic concept we desired. Even if we couldn't find what we were looking for, we would be inspired and capable of taking our own photos. This would allow us to see the real world, discover some of its most hidden nooks, learn about the stories of numerous people, and explore new, real concepts, among other things.

What can we do?

The AI revolution is here, and it will just become part of our lives. 'There is nothing we can change!' some say.

Photo by Damon Marshall

If everyone capable and skilled enough to take good photos shared their work, we wouldn't need all this AI-generated content. Paraphrasing Ernie Schenk - 'The world doesn’t need another photographer. It needs 8 billion of them.'

So, would simply sharing hundreds of your photographs on social media help?

No. It's not about quantity. It's about the power of photographs to captivate and engage. If we all continue sharing our work on different channels, we will still be in the same place in one, five, and ten years, and the world will be completely overtaken by fake images. It's also not about selling more of your work.

The only way to counter the overwhelming surge of AI-generated content is by uniting and bringing our most captivating images to a single platform. It's about photographers coming together to show the transformative power of captivating photography to as many people as possible. Through exposure to and interaction with genuine, compelling photos, people will begin to value the authenticity and allure of real photography.

Photography matters, now more than ever. We need more photographers to be braver and share their work.

If you love taking photos but haven’t tried using a professional camera or think your work isn't good enough - stop doubting yourself. Engage in challenges, join communities, and surround yourself with others passionate about photography who will understand and support you.

The time has come not just to store our photos on hard drives but to share them more broadly.

The right way forward is to enrich the visual world with authentic, captivating, and engaging photography (we are not referring to the countless selfies). It's about photography for the greater good.


While there are many talented photographers among us now, most people will never see their work, simply because of how the algorithms and search engines work. At Excio, we're on a mission to change this. If you know any talented photographers, point them our way.

On popular social media platforms, hashtags like #ai boast millions of mentions and followers. We're introducing a new hashtag for our #PhotographyMatters movement. Use it, share it, talk about it. Because it does matter.

By Excio Photo Community profile image Excio Photo Community
Updated on