Driving home from Washington after the inauguration, cruising on adrenalin from covering the historic event and then stopping two or three times for coffee, and even posting - from a rest area on I-95 - for a fourth time about this "Obama Poster Photo Source MYSTERY" and making late night cell phone calls (is it against the law while driving in Maryland?) to the Associated Press bureaus in New York and Washington and talking to editors who said they hadn't seen anything about a photo being credited as the source of the Obama poster, but promised to leave a note for the day shift, I got home and couldn't go to sleep. Whew.
So I figured I'd see how hard it could be to find the photographer a bunch of us have been looking for for a while now.
It wasn't that difficult - especially since I had at least five or six clues from others - mostly in the form of emails I received, and comments on my recent blog post and on James Danziger's The Year in Pictures.
Searching Google Images with terms - Obama 2006 - I hit a photo-illustration on only the fourth page.
Then, inspired by Mike Cramer of Philadelphia who located the Reuters news photo last week we all believed was the source photograph - he found it on the 20th page of his search - I kept going up into the forties. No luck.
Bored with that, 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:
And amazingly enough, just like with Mike's initial find, this one had a Pennsylvania connection. The image was a file photo, on the pennlive.com website, with a March 2008 Harrisburg Patriot News story about the Pennsylvania Primary.
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, "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 Brownback.
Here's a CBS videotape of the Press Conference.
When I wake up this morning, I'll be calling the AP in Washington and seeing if Mannie replied to my email.