Photograph Obama Hope Poster Based On Discovered

- - Photographers

UPDATE: Looks like this is not the photo Fairey used… this one is more of an exact match and a little too paint by numbers if you ask me (here).

“Jim Young, a Washington-based photographer who has taken, in his words, ‘thousands’ of pictures of Obama, was not even aware that the most ubiquitous image of the election was based on his photograph. He’d seen the HOPE poster countless times and never made the connection to his own photograph, which he snapped at a 2007 Senate confirmation hearing.”

From a piece James Danziger wrote for The Daily Beast (here) about searching for and eventually finding of the photographer who’s work Shepard Fairey based his Obama hope poster on. This is old news in the blog-o-sphere but the Daily Beast piece is well done (and the website is worth a second look because the niche they’re carving out seems to be working).


There Are 10 Comments On This Article.

  1. Yes, the Daily Beast really is carving out a nice niche.

    The Morning Scoop email for subscribers is a great, succinct, morning read (you can register for it on their Home Page).

  2. I can’t believe there is actually a debate going on under the article about whether or not it is fair use. Now that is just silly to me. I’m an artist (painter/drawer) turned photographer (believe it or not, there is more money in photography, and aside from that, I found I could seperate myself from my photographs but not from my paintings). For me, this whole thing is silly because when you draw something it really does become something different. Even in this case, the look in Obama’s eyes is more intense, his face is more resolute, the colors are a statement as well.

    • @Tim,
      That would appear to be the one… reminds me of how I got a call once from a photographers saying I had published his image without permission so I asked him to send it to me. Sure enough it was the exact same image as another photographer had taken. The photographer who thought I had stolen his image didn’t work in sports photography and was unaware that this is a fairly common occurrence when shooting with a motor drive at a sporting event.

  3. Do you think that this initial public confusion, even among industry professionals, and the similarity between the photos, combined with what you reference above to motor drives and event shooting, may serve to actually undermine or dilute any potential claim?

  4. You know what, nevermind what I said, not because I don’t necessarily still think it, but because the law is not on my side:

    “The Effect of the Use Upon the Potential Market

    Another important fair use factor is whether your use deprives the copyright owner of income or undermines a new or potential market for the copyrighted work. As we indicated previously, depriving a copyright owner of income is very likely to trigger a lawsuit. This is true even if you are not competing directly with the original work.

    For example, in one case an artist used a copyrighted photograph without permission as the basis for wood sculptures, copying all of the elements of the photo. The artist earned several hundred thousand dollars selling the sculptures. When the photographer sued, the artist claimed his sculptures were a fair use because the photographer would never have considered making sculptures. The court disagreed, stating that it did not matter whether the photographer had considered making sculptures; what mattered was that a potential market for sculptures of the photograph existed. ( Rogers v. Koons, 960 F.2d 301 (2d Cir. 1992).)”

    found here: