Last week, a blogger for Reuters claimed to have found the source material for Shepard Fairey’s iconic Obama poster. When flopped, the Reuters photo did resemble the poster… But it didn’t seem like a close enough match to me.

After a little more searching I came across a flickr posting that suggested an AP photo was the source. No one was sure who had taken the photo, but one of the commenters had seen it on a posting from 2006.

So I went over to AP’s image archive this morning and after wading through a few hundred images managed to find the photo.

It’s a shot from April 27, 2006. Then-Senator Obama was joining George Clooney in speaking at a National Press Club event in Washington about the situation in Darfur. The photo was taken by Mannie Garcia.

When you rotate it about 5 degrees, the photo is a dead ringer. Fairey adjusted the expression on Obama’s mouth (which seems a little closer to a smile), but all the highlights and shadows match up.

Shepard Fairey is scheduled to give a talk on February 5 here at the ICA. I sort of want to go now so I can ask him about it.