Exploring the Future of Photography: Highlights from Part I of the Imagenation Summit

By Susan Stripling

Last updated on 06/13/2024

It was a huge honor to host the first-ever Imagenation Summit and learn more about all of this – and more – with the incredible guests that came to chat with the hundreds of attendees.

First, we heard from Imagen’s own Ron Oren . Ron chatted with attendees about the new Imagen Workspace, including cloud-based backups. It’s always really inspiring to hear from companies themselves about their visions for the future, and Ron is always so passionate and innovative. I’m really excited about backups, and even more excited to see where Imagen goes in the future to keep meeting the needs of photographers!

Next up was the Generative AI & Photography Debate between Boris Eldagsen and Sam Hurd.

I’ve known of Sam and his wedding photography work for years, so it was really fascinating to hear his take on how AI is shaping our industry. The work he’s doing with the feedback loop of AI in real-time is truly groundbreaking.

I first heard of Boris when his image “The Electrician” took first place at the World Photography Organization’s Sony World Photography Awards in the creative open category. The only issue? It wasn’t a photograph, it was a unique piece of AI artwork. Boris is at the forefront of generative AI art, so it was really interesting to hear his perspective on the impact AI is having on art and photography.

What are the ethical concerns of manipulating an image with AI?

Sam and Boris spent nearly an hour discussing the artistic integrity, ethics, impact, and future possibilities of AI in the photography genre. The questions from the attendees ranged from “Can a generative AI artist be considered a photographer?” to “How can the photography industry strike a balance between embracing technological advancements like generative AI and preserving the integrity of the craft and its traditional values?”.

When does a photo stop being a photo and transition to another piece of art?

The conversation provided a unique philosophical perspective of AI in photography, exploring the implications of AI on the artistry, integrity, and creativity of the craft.  When is a photographer more of a “promptographer?”  When does a photograph leave that descriptive realm and become another type of art entirely?  How do we, as artists, come to those conclusions within our own work?

It was a fantastic discussion between two passionate, ambitious artists, and it has made me even more excited to explore how AI can impact my photography business. I’m looking forward to researching the potential applications of AI in the creative industry, and learning more about how to harness its power to create unique and compelling imagery.

After Sam and Boris finished their discussion, the Summit moved on to the Quickfire Talks about the vision of the future of photography.

What happens when you 3D scan flowers and overlay them on top of images?

First up was Everbay, a duo I love! Using 3D scanning technology, Martin and Susan Slechta have taken storytelling to a whole new level. They are working towards a photography future where memories aren’t just seen but experienced in a whole new way. This is being crafted through the exciting intersection of the tangible and the digital.

Next was the delightful Rosie Hardy. The surreal self-portraits Rosie has taken have propelled her into fantasy worlds since she was 16. Rosie discussed her challenges and inspiration as she moves forward with her AI work and the new generative fill tools on Photoshop. She spoke about how her art has evolved since she started, and how her work has been inspired by the AI and generative art she has encountered. She also shared her plans for the future, which involve continuing to explore and push the boundaries of generative art with new tools and techniques.

Lastly we heard from the remarkable Liam Crawley. In addition to aerial wedding portraits, Liam creates mesmerizing images underwater using underwater housing. As well as his tips on daring to be different, he shared with us his views on online tools vs. in-camera magic. His unique work and passionate way of speaking about his craft was inspiring.

What are the next steps for Imagen?

I was transfixed during the entire Summit. I have been grappling with what AI means to me and my photography business for a while now, and hearing from all of these brilliant artists made me more excited about the future of our industry. Never before have we had such amazing tools to enhance our creativity, and I’m beyond thrilled to see where this leads us in the photography future!  I can’t wait for the next Summit to delve deeper!

The story continues in the Part 2 Of The Imagenation Photography Summit Recap


susan striplingSusan Stripling has been photographing weddings, portraits, and theater for over twenty years. She has been named one of the top ten wedding photographers in the world by American Photo Magazine.

She is most honored to be named an Explorer of Light by Canon USA. In her spare time, besides spending time with her incredible family, Susan is a voracious reader, lover of all horror movies, and inexplicably sleeps with the lights on.

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