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The Obama poster Photographer ID’d

January 30, 2009


You knew it would only be a matter of time before we found the photographer who’s image of Obama that Shepard Fairey used to create his iconic, colorful poster. Photographer Mannie Garcia had seen the artwork many times but it never registered that it was his picture. Garcia states that he is not mad at Fairey, and that he wouldn’t mind getting a signed copy to put on his wall.

Where would you, as a photographer stand on this issue? I am no attorney, and I wont get into the Fair-Use Law. This debate has been going on for years. But, if no stance is made, Fair-Use will turn into Free-Use. At the very least, Fairey should have contacted Garcia about usage. It is only fair, as this poster is now one of the most recognizable images from the campaign. Lets not even talk about financial gain. Here is the next Fairey offering:


This Fair-Use debate is nothing new. What about the recent troubles with artist Richard prince and his use of copyrighted images. Just like the Obama image, the Sam Abell and Jim Kranz photographs of “The Marlboro Man” is equally as iconic. Maybe that is why Prince decided to heavily produce work with this image. Here is Abell talking to PDN on the Prince issue:

It wont be a quick fix, nor will the issues surrounding this be solved by the court system alone. It will take a fundamental change in the way artists think and work to even begin to right this wayward ship.



From → News/Rants

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