top of page

An Uneasy Alliance

Updated: Jan 24

It takes a great deal of courage for a photojournalist to work on the front line.

Many have given their lives in pursuit of stories they felt the world had to see.

And yet nothing could stop them taking a leap into the unknown.

...But how do you cover a story that is completely inaccessible - whatever the odds?

Maybe you don't have to be there at all.

Photographer Michael Christopher Brown has a fine reputation as a photojournalist - “I spent years as a documentarian, dedicating and risking everything to capture real stories in the most candid and pure way possible.”

But his photo essay '90 miles' is a product not of a photographic adventure but instead of his imagination.

90 miles of shark-infested water separate Havana from Florida. The risks of death from high seas, the weather and what lurks under the surface have not deterred many Cubans from risking their lives to try and cross the waters for a better life in America.

Their bravery inspired Michael Christopher Brown to want to capture their story. How he did it has caused an explosive debate in the world of photography. On his instagram he clearly states that his photo-essay '90 miles' is entirely AI generated. This was a story that he felt had to be told even if he was never really there...

Imagery generated by Artificial Intelligence has rocked the world of photography. We have seen its profound impact on the historical archive - causing confusion about real and imagined histories but its impact is most feared in contemporary image making.

Fans of MCB's work have been outraged by his foray into AI; calling his images 'unethical' and 'disturbing'. Many have threatened to unfollow his popular instagram account. The images were the result of several visits to Cuba and a great deal of research but MCB says that he had to resort to AI because covering the story with a camera was impossible - not only because of the treacherous seas but also because of Cuban politics.