Come on, by now you have to have seen it. The Shepard Fairey Obama posters and images that have been an iconic symbol if our new Presidents' election days. His work is popular as hell and there's even a website that let you create your own Fairey-esque poster of yourself!
The thing everyone doesn't know, except maybe pro-active artists and people that actually read and keep up with the news, is that Shepard Fairey is quite a controversial artist. He uses images from questionable sources. He openly admits to his free use of grabbing images from wherever he can find them, including a google search, and adapting them in his work. There are those that champion his defiance and his huge sense of graphic style. There are those that are horrified by his practices and expose him when his actions deem it necessary.
There's an absolute MUST READ article over on the Myartspace blog about the source of one of Faireys' works. In essence, a blogger named Michael Cramer took it upon himself to locate the source of a particular photo of President Obama that Fairey freely admitted he simply Google searched. Sure enough, the photo was found, and then the photographer! Questions were asked of him as to why he isn't pursuing his interests on this particular image. Since he was the creator, he has rights to it's use...including it's use in these political posters. The ArtSpace article is hugely informative. It's also got a serious comment section a mile long.
Definitely take time to acquaint yourself with these copyright issues. This is a case that is easily understood and followed. Put yourself in the place of each of the players...Shepard Fairey and his production crew, Jim Young, the photographer. Put yourself in the place of the decision makers...Obama... and yourself. Keep informed. Make an opinion. Join the discussion. Help decide the future.
Upon writing this post, even as I write this...I found this little conversation on Flickr, where perhaps ANOTHER photo was the source. Obviously....this is a sticky issue. The source of the photo isn't clear to anyone but perhaps Fairey and his team.
Thought provoking stuff.