Sunday, January 18, 2009

What an HONOR: Photographer unknowingly made an historic icon


Shepard Fairey’s posters of Barack Obama became the iconic image of a historic campaign. After a bit of digging by a photographer and a blogger, it turns out that Fairey’s source material was a photo by Reuters’ veteran photographer Jim Young.

“I saw that poster all over the place, all year. For a lot of people it symbolized the campaign. It meant so much to so many people,” Young told Philadelphia Inquirer photographer and blogger Tom Gralish, who has led the search for the photo.

“I’m honored, but I’m glad it didn’t come out until after the campaign,” Jim added. “I think even if I had known it was mine, I would have kept quiet. It would be just my little secret.”

Shepard Fairey, an artist who first came to fame for an altered picture of wrestler Andre the Giant, has said in interviews that he found the Obama source photo using Google Image Search and then “did his thing to it.” His “Hope” poster is now in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery.
Iconic Obama poster based on Reuters photo
Shepard Fairey
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