Famous Obama 'Hope' Image Stolen?

So, where exactly did the communist graphics inspired artist Shepard Fairey get the image of Obama for his ubiquitous "Hope" poster featuring a confident, young Obama intently staring off into the distance for glorious leader's future, anyway? Turns out the celebrated artist stole it from an Associated Press freelance photographer and never bothered to acknowledge where he got it in the first place. I guess the word "ethics" didn't fit as easily on that iconic Fairey poster, eh?

At least one Old Media photographer was curious about the source photo that the poster was based on. Philadelphia Inquirer photog Tom Gralish wondered aloud on his phillynews.com blog about just where the heck that original photo came from? Apparently among the shooter set in the Old Media the question had become a nagging one and Gralish decided to put on his sleuthing cap to track down the original source. After a short time at the task he discovered the original, uncredited photo used by Fairey to make the wildly successful poster that made him bundles of cash.

The original photo was snapped by Associated Press freelancer Mannie Garcia who took the iconic image as he covered a press conference in 2006.

The photo was made by freelance photographer Mannie Garcia who was on assignment for the AP in April of 2006, where a National Press Club news advisory alerted the media that, "Academy Award Winner George Clooney will address National Press Club on his recent visit to war-torn Darfur and will release video footage from his trip to Sudan. Clooney will be joined by U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), co-sponsors of S. 1462, The Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, and co-sponsors of amendments to increase funding for peacekeeping operations in Sudan."

As it turns out, Obama wasn't contemplating how to save the planet when the image stolen by Fairey was originally taken, he was listening to conservative Senator Sam Brownback speak at the press conference!

So, the main question here is, will the communist inspired arteest Shepard Fairey share the wealth from the photo that made him famous with the actual photographer that took it? Will Fairey follow his Obammessiah and "spread the wealth" a little to the poor, struggling, work-a-day photographer that unwittingly made Fairey a household name in many circles?

Or will they have to settle this sticky philosophical point in the place where those many greedy, mean-spirited capitalists that Fairey is so disdainful of go to solve their problems: the courts?

Either way, the whole thing gave me a laugh.

(Hope poster image credit: Wikipedia/ Original AP photo credit: phillynews.com)