Update at bottom of post. Bottom line, the photog says at first he wasn't even sure it was his photo, he is not mad at Fairey, and he's not looking at any lawsuits. This is all about AP, not the photog.
Not long ago on Boing Boing Video, we ran an episode with Shepard Fairey in which the artist explained how the iconic Obama poster came to be — and he explained that he does not profit from the poster, though a vast network of bootleg businesses do. The Associated Press is suing Fairey, for having hand-drawn the image in part from a photo taken by AP photog Manny Garcia. Discussing the case with Sean Bonner over at LA Metblogs, photographer Glen E. Friedman (who appeared with Fairey in our four-part video miniseries about their work and collaborations together) said…
Funny thing is not just because he's my friend, but I side with shepard on this for several reasons.
#1 the shot is literally a dime a dozen shot, absolutely nothing special about it, Shepard made it special, in fact the un-cropped original i'll attach here, as you can see was more important before he cropped it for his art. (george clooney made it special)!
#2 he actually donated every penny he made from it back into the campaign to get Obama elected. Unfortunately all the after market sales of his posters he has no control over, and the people who bootlegged his stuff and sold it of course he has no control over. and when he first created it it was mainly a wheat paste poster made to go around the country before super tuesday, it got viral after that. at which point he probably just should have approached AP for rights which he probably could have gotten pretty cheaply for this use, just to be 100%. but so goes the life of a graffiti/street artist. one is in The Smithsonian now.
#3 if Shepard did profit from the use other than the obvious gain we all receive by not having a total piece of shit head of state, i as the photographer would certainly be concerned, but when an image is used for charity or something other than straight merchandise that helps a "cause" not just someone's bank account, I'd be cool with that. But make merch of an already iconic image, and profit on it, or attach your brand to it? without release from the image maker or the subject? and indeed i will make sure you get dragged through hell if i can help it.
AP tries to shake down Shepard Fairey and post where you can view the original, uncropped photo. (Metblogs LA, thanks Sean Bonner)
Update Sean Bonner shares this comment by Metblogs editor Jason deFillippo,
Photographer Mannie Garcia had this to say over on Tom Gralish's Philadelphia Inquirer photographer blog:
"Of the iconic poster he said, 'I've been on the campaign for twenty something months, so I would see the artwork, I would photograph it, and think what is with this image? But it didn't snap. It never occurred to me it was my picture. I thought, 'that's familiar.' I would see it and say that's cool, but it did keep sticking in my head.' He was quick to add he is not mad at Fairey, and he's not looking at any lawsuits. 'I know artists like to look at things; they see things and they make stuff. It's a really cool piece of work. I wouldn't mind getting a signed litho or something from the artist to put up on my wall.'"