Shutterstock to sell images that are AI generated, not taken by photographers

The stock photo platform announced it would sell images generated using Dall-E, in a first that’s bound to shake the commercial photography market.

In the coming months, the stock photography platform Shutterstock will start listing pictures created with the AI image generator Dall•E, developed by OpenAI. 

Along with competitors such as Stable Diffusion or Midjourney, Dall•E is constantly improving at generating photorealistic and detailed pictures that can easily pass for generic, albeit quirky, stock imagery. 

Shutterstock’s decision is an intriguing take on the issue and a confirmation that, according to one of the biggest commercial photography market players, resistance is futile. 

“The mediums to express creativity are constantly evolving and expanding”, said Shutterstock CEO Paul Hennessy in a press release. “We recognize that it is our great responsibility to embrace this evolution and to ensure that the generative technology that drives innovation is grounded in ethical practices.”
Among those ethical practices is a new “Contributor Fund” to reimburse creative professionals whose images have been used to train AI Models. 
In the past, Shutterstock was criticized for selling pictures and metadata to OpenAI to train the model behind Dall•E.  After all, by selling AI-generated pictures, Shutterstock is coming full circle and will start profiting from the AI Model it helped optimize.

All the images in our gallery have been generated using Dall•E using the prompts in each picture’s caption.

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