Found: The picture that was the inspiration for “the” iconic Obama poster

Ya’ll are familiar with the now-famous campaign poster used repeatedly during the Obama campaign, which features his face with red, white, and blue colors on it. The title of the poster was “Change” and you can see it here if you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page.

The name of the artist who did the rendering is Shepard Fairey, who – last May – said of the inspiration behind it:

To create his Obama poster (which he did in less than a week), Fairey grabbed a news photograph of the candidate off the Internet. He sought an Obama that looked presidential. “He is gazing off into the future, saying, ‘I can guide you,’ ” is how Fairey reads the image.

Well … maybe if he knew who was sitting beside him in the photograph, perhaps Fairey would have a different opinion on how he felt Obama looked. Ok, probably not. Anyway, Philly Inquirer general assignment photographer Tom Gralish tracked down the actual picture Fairey used in his artwork, and here’s what he found (make sure to click the link to see the pictures in question):

[…]I remembered the photo on the CBS site that a number of sleuths told me about had an AP credit, so I added “associated press” to my search terms. And there it was – on page nine:


I right-clicked on the Obama headshot, and to my surprise, downloaded a FULLSIZE, as in 24.7 Megabytes, version of the original AP file. Then, holding my breath, I opened the IPTC caption file and there it was:


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, ROAD20090121H.jpg”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.”

So, it looks like the image that poster artist Shepard Fairey said looked presidential, telling the Washington Post: “He is gazing off into the future, saying, ‘I can guide you,’ ” actually showed our new president listening to George Clooney. Or, probably more likely, fellow Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.)[.]

I wouldn’t be so sure about that ;)

Anyway, just an interesting tidbit of info about the image behind the artwork behind the image The One crafted well before he started running for president.