Matrix Ping Pong

[introbox image_link=”/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/PingPong.jpg” amazon_link=”http://youtu.be/PgM11RtGjeI” image_width=250 when=”March 31, 2003″ where=”Kinchan and Katori Shingo’s National Costume Competition” who=”NTV” summary=”Team captiain: Hideki Kajiwara (梶原比出樹)” ]


httpv://youtu.be/PgM11RtGjeI

Matrix Ping Pong is a famous video clip that makes the rounds as an Internet meme on the web. It is a recording from the popular annual Japanese show Kinchan and Katori Shingo’s National Costume Competition (欽ちゃん&香取慎吾の新!仮装大賞). The video shows a group of people attempting to mix moves in the style of The Matrix movie while parodying another, Japanese movie named Ping Pong, using kurokos (stagehands dressed all in black that are used in Japanese theatre) to hold the actors and the props up. This performance won the competition on March 31, 2003.

Video Breakdown

The video opens with what appears to be two competitors about to start a ping pong match. On closer inspection, you can see the kurokos in the background that move the various parts of the stage. Each “competitor” is made up of two people one controls the visible top half and the other the legs, the visible lower half. All told there are 7 people involved in the skit:

4 people to control the Red and Orange players
1 person to control the ping pong ball
2 people to move the actual ping pong table

On the screen appear the Skit Title and 29. The title is in Katakana letters that translate into PingPong and the contestants are number 29.

Celebration


In each episode, there are 30 or so skits that individuals or groups of people act out. There is a panel of 10 judges, each with two buttons to vote with. At the end of each skit, they vote on how much they liked it, with 15 being a passing score and 20 being the max score. So if they didn’t like the skit then they give no points, kind of liked it then they get 1 point, really like it 2 points. If a skit gets below 15 then don’t move onto the next round but if they get above 15, they get a medal and get a chance to win money. This is why and the end of the skit you see them cheering and hugging each other because they got above 15 points.

Kasou Taishou

Kasou Taishou or the (欽ちゃん&香取慎吾の新!仮装大賞; Kinchan and Katori Shingo’s National Costume Competition) is a semi-annual show on NTV in which various amateur groups (or solo artists) perform short skits, which are rated by a panel of judges. It originally was just a show to showcase costumes but as people started performing to showcase their costume the show, especially in recent years, has evolved into skits that revolve around clever methods of “faking” cinematic special effects on a live stage, like “Matrix Ping Pong”. You can view the winners of each episode on the official website press the sixth link down on the left menu bar.

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Man Sucked Into Jet Engine

Behind the camera: Deck Camera
Where: Flight deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt
Photo Summary: John Bridget is shown getting sucked into an A-6E’s engine
Picture Taken: 03:41:11 Feb 20, 1991
This image is in the public domain because it was taken by Navy personnel

Not to be confused with the video of a helmet getting sucked into a Jet, this video is actual footage of a one John Bridget (21 years old at the time) getting sucked into an A-6E Intruder’s jet engine. It’s been a segment on numerous TV shows like World’s Wildest Videos and has since been taped, digitized and uploaded to the net. Once online it became quite famous, as its small size made for easy sharing. The footage got a second life when it was revealed that not only did the man get sucked into an engine but that he survived.

Getting sucked into a Jet engine doesn’t happen very often but it has happened in the past. In another incident in January 01, 2006 a mechanic was sucked into the jet engine of a Boeing 737 at El Paso International Airport and killed.

Video Breakdown



httpv://youtu.be/U7MWBMt3iHA

The video starts on the flight deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt and according to the camera time, it’s 03:41:11 Feb 20, 1991. An A-6E pilot is getting ready for take off as a trainee checks the position of the carrier launching mechanism. All this time the pilot has the engines at full throttle and as the trainee moves away from the trainer, a green shirt (Navy personnel wear color coated uniforms), John Bridget, comes to make sure everything is OK. Navy personal Daniel P Streckfuss tells the story from there:

I was attached to VFA-15 on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt during that deployment in 1991. This occurred [during Desert Storm, Desert Storm ended February 28, 1991]. He did survive and I’m surprised the editors of that video didn’t include him climbing out. What allowed him to survive was the design of the A-6 engine (the J-52). It has a long protruding ‘bullet’ or cone that extends in front of the first stage fans. When he was sucked in, his arm extended above his head which caused his body to wedge between the bullet and inside wall of the intake. Lucky for him, his cranial and float coat were sucked in first causing the FOD’d engine which prompted the pilot to cut the throttle (commanded by the Shooter who moves into the frame kneeling and moving his wand up and down). It took almost 3 minutes for him to push his way out of the intake after being sucked in. Needless to say, I don’t think he was seen on the flight deck for the rest of the cruise.

According to the video, the scene where he has bandages around his head and his arm taped up was taken only a few hours after the incident. After recovering from his injuries he left the Navy.

A-6 Intruder


19 December 1996 saw the last launch of an A-6E Intruder from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) marked the last Intruder squadron to fly from the deck of an aircraft carrier.


The A-6E Intruder, the plane who sucked in the Navy man, is a twin-engine, mid-wing attack aircraft built by Grumman Aerospace. In service between 1963 and 1996, the Intruder was designed as a replacement for the piston-engined A-1 Skyraider. A specialized electronic warfare derivative, the EA-6B Prowler, remains in service as of 2006. As the A-6 neared retirement, it was replaced at some reduction in combat radius by the multi-role F/A-18 Hornet and fighter-bomber adaptations of the now also retired F-14 Tomcat.

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)

The video was filmed on the flight deck of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) (known affectionately as the Big Stick or TR). It is the fourth Nimitz-class supercarrier and its call sign is Rough Rider, the name of President Theodore Roosevelt’s volunteer cavalry unit during the Spanish-American War. It was launched on 27 October 1984 and saw action in the first Gulf War. On 9 June 1990, Capt. Charles S. Abbot became the ship’s third Commanding Officer and on 28 December, Theodore Roosevelt and CVW-8 deployed for Operation Desert Shield. Theodore Roosevelt entered the war on 9 January 1991, eventually flying over 4,200 sorties (more than any other carrier) and dropping more than 4,800,000 pounds of ordnance before the cease-fire on 28 February.
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Kolla2001

Behind the camera: Kollaboration
Where: Kollaboration which was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, Los Angeles
Photo Summary: David ‘Elsewhere’ Bernal is the third dancer to appear
Picture Taken: Saturday October 6, 2001

David “Elsewhere” Bernal (born August 2, 1979) is a popping dancer from Santa Ana, California. He became well known through this video clip recorded at the Korean-American talent show, Kollaboration, in 2001. The clip showcased Bernal’s characteristic take on contemporary dances popping and liquid dancing. Performances of these dances were rare at the time, and the clip became a very popular viral video. In Nov 2006 the Viral marketing company, The Viral Factory, collated page impression figures from websites such as YouTube and Google Videos. They determined that this video as of Nov 2006 had been viewed 200 million times.

Kollaboration



httpv://youtu.be/iUz4OLQi_uw

Kollaboration is a Korean American/ Korean Canadian Talent Show. “Kollaboration seeks to elevate Korean American/ Korean Canadian talent into the limelight of the music and entertainment industries, showcasing their talents and the community’s potential to the world.” It has been running since 2000 and serves to break down any stereotypes that exist in regards to Korean talent. David Elsewhere’s video clip was filmed at Kollaboration 2001 which was held on Saturday, October 6, 2001, at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, Los Angeles.

David “Elsewhere” Bernal

David started dancing around when he was 17. At his high school he and a number of students would play music, dance and break and a place called, “The Quad”:

The first time I really performed in front of a big crowd was probably a year after I started dancing. It was in front of my school at The Quad, which I described to you earlier. My friends basically pushed me into the circle. I actually took out this house dancer, this guy who would go in circles and try to show off. I basically shut him up because he didn’t know how to break…all he did was his house dancing. I got a pretty big ovation from the people and that day really stuck with me. It was a huge, huge confidence booster.

In 2002 he graduated from California State University Long Beach, California with a degree in Art and Illustration. On his homepage he sites besides B-Boy dancing his major dance artist influences were:

  • Squid – His longtime friend who got him started with dancing.
  • Salty – A mystery man that David saw on a video. He became obsessed with his style and dancing without ever knowing who he was.
  • Skywalker – Skywalker’s influence resulted in his style becoming much more fluid and exaggerated.
  • Since the video Bernal has done a number of advertisements for Heineken, iPod, 7-Eleven Slurpee and Pepsi. He also did a cameo appearance in the movie You Got Served and TV performances including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In a Volkswagen Golf GTI commercial him and some other dancers like Crumbs and another popper named Jay Walker did a spoof of 1952 movie Singin’ in the Rain where they recreated Gene Kelly’s Dance.

    Double Jointed?

    Most people when viewing the video think that David has to be double jointed to do his moves but when asked in an interview he stated:

    I’m not double-jointed at all. The only place where I am double-jointed is my thumbs, which doesn’t even matter. I would say I’m probably a little more flexible than most people in certain areas, mainly my shoulders and my ankles, but I wasn’t born that way. Those areas became flexible because of years of practicing.

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    Trojan Games

    Behind the camera: Filmed by Ed Robinson of, Viral Factory
    Where: Romanian Stadium
    Photo Summary: Romanian actors playing two Ukranian athletes, Mosienko (Guy) and Bubka (Girl)
    Picture Taken: Campaign started on March 2003 to April 2004

    The video was created by The Viral Factory and commissioned by Trojan Condoms to create a buzz around their UK launch. The video and website spoof for a fictional event called the Trojan Games was created with fake sports of an adult nature. Each viral clip was embedded in the Trojan Games website, creating a huge effect by driving viewers to the site. In Nov 2006 the Viral marketing company, The Viral Factory, collated page impression figures from websites such as YouTube and Google Videos. They determined that this video as of Nov 2006 had been viewed 300 million times.

    Video Breakdown



    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oedba4wqlcs

    The video opens with what appears to be two athletes walking through a crowd. The voice-over tells us, in an Olympic Commentator style, that the two, Mosienko and Bubka, are from Ukraine and hope to win the event. As they walk up to the stage you notice that they don’t appear to be wearing pants. The girl, Bubka, “mounts” her partner Mosienko and then she lets go appearing to be held in place by Mosienko’s … “member”. They hold the pose for 3 sec to victory and the crowd goes wild waving Ukrainian flags as Mosienko and Bubka take gold for the sport of “Pelvic Power Lifting”.

    Filming

    The Viral Factory filmed in a real athletics arena in Romania and used genuine Romanian athletes, shooting for two days. They were promised by the local casting director that there would be no problem with the actors getting naked which turned out to be true except for one incident with the Weightlifter:

    Only one of them was shy, poor bugger … He suddenly had a panic attack at the last moment … But really, all of them were perfectly happy, quite extraordinarily laid-back about it. Being English we were terribly sensitive and had people with towels ready as soon as we cut, we had little skin-coloured pouches made for long shots. One girl was parading around half nude for about 20 minutes after the shoot. We said go and put some clothes on and have some lunch, she said, ‘no, I’m hungry’!’ After that we all relaxed.–Film makers

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    Numa Numa

    Behind the camera: Gary Brolsma’s Webcam
    Where: Gary Brolsma’s house in New Jersey
    Photo Summary: Gary Brolsma
    Picture Taken: November 2004

    Sometime in 2004 Gary Brolsma saw a Japanese Internet video clip that featured animated ASCII cats displaying amusing lyrics to the song, “Ma Ya Hi (Dragostea Din Tei)” by Romanian pop band O-Zone. After filming his own version with him dancing in front of his computer he uploaded it onto the net and it became one of the most downloaded videos on the internet. In Nov 2006 the Viral marketing company, The Viral Factory, collated page impression figures from websites such as YouTube and Google Videos. They determined that this video as of Nov 2006 had been viewed 700 million times.

    Pre-Gary



    httpv://youtu.be/KmtzQCSh6xk

    The Numa Numa (or “Numa Numa Dance”) gets its name from the chorus of the Dragostea din tei track, “nu mă, nu mă iei,” meaning, roughly, “(you) won’t take, won’t take me.” The video caught the ear of one Japanese Internet User, Ikari, who created his own video for the song. Using an animation that looks like a popular Japanese ASCII cat named Monā Ikari created a video which used English and Japanese Mondegreens or words that sound the closest to the original Romanian lyrics. It was this video and its concept that captured Gary’s imagination.

    Gary Brolsma

    Gary Brolsma (born January 14, 1986) is a resident of the state of New Jersey, USA. One of his teachers, Susan Sommer, described him as quiet but was good with technology, “Whenever there were computer problems, Gary … would fix them for the school,”
    Around Nov 2004, Gary was facing some depression after the death of his father, and he used his Webcam to film himself lip-syncing in an effort to lift his spirits. The video was meant to amuse himself and a few friends. But within weeks Internet users charmed by the innocence and ebullience of Brolsma’s performance spread the video around the world. Brolsma became an unintentional icon of the viral video phenomenon after uploading his “Numa Numa Dance” on the Newgrounds site on December 6, 2004, where it has since been seen over 13 million times. Since it was uploaded the video has been reproduced on hundreds of other websites and blogs.
    When asked about making the video Gary had this to say:

    It only took one take and about 15 minutes to put all together. A lot of people ask me if I planned the video out or took multiple tries with it. The real answer is… no. A week or so after I finished the video, I decided to throw it up on Newgrounds.com just for the heck of it, thinking it would get blammed (automatically deleted for a low scoring video). Little did I know it would explode in the views and would touch so many people.

    Not happy with just one version Gary also created some tweaked variants of the video since it became popular. One version also contains some puns, among them pictures of “feta cheese” during the lyric “fericirea” (“happiness”) and a LEGO representation of Bob Ross during the singer’s words: “sunt eu, Picasso” (“it’s me, Picasso”). Other third-party versions include a “Showdown,” between him and a German Kid getting angry at his computer. The video also had a brief cameo by the Star Wars Kid.

    As his video spread throughout the world the fame hit hard. He made appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s The Tonight Show and VH1’s Best Week Ever, but then became uncomfortable with the amount of attention. According to The New York Times, he was an “unwilling and embarrassed Web celebrity.” He stopped taking phone calls from the media; he cancelled an appearance on NBC’s Today Show on February 17, 2005; and he did not cooperate with The New York Times for their February 26, 2005 article about him.
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    Since then Gary has come to terms with his celebrity even releasing a New Numa video which was released on September 8, 2006, on Newgrounds, and promoted on a dedicated website, NewNuma.com. This was an unexpected move, though one which he had been urged to make by fans of his original video. The video was produced by Experience Studios (Seattle, WA). It features Brolsma and his garage band, The Nowadays, lip-syncing and dancing to New Numa. The song is a repeated Russian children’s rhyme and performed in heavily accented and barely understandable Russian by Chad Russell, a singer/songwriter from Fridley, MN, for producer and DJ, Variety Beats, on the BeLive label.

    Dragostea din tei





    Dragostea din tei (pronounced /ˈdra.gos.te̯a din tej/) was the most successful single by O-Zone a band originally from Moldova, but which launched in Romania. The original version was sung by Dan Bălan, Arsenie Todiraş and Radu Sârbu. The single was first released in 2003 in Romania, where the group lived and produced at that time, and in the spring of 2004 in most other European countries. As of 2006, the song is still in the lower reaches of some Eastern European singles charts. It was written and produced by Dan Bălan (who wrote most of the group’s songs) and was one of 2004’s most successful summer hits, as well as one of the best selling singles of the year across Europe. Tragedy struck when in 2005 the group split up. All of the members went their separate ways and started their own solo careers.

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    Star Wars Kid

    Behind the camera: Ghyslain Raza
    Where: Le Seminaire St-Joseph de in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada
    Photo Summary: Ghyslain Raza fighting like a Sith Warrior
    Picture Taken: November 8, 2002

    In November of 2002, Ghyslain Raza a student that went to le Seminaire St-Joseph de Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada decided to take advantage of his school’s recording studio. Imitating the Darth Maul character from Star Wars he jumped, danced and twirled around the studio using a tennis ball retriever in place of Darth Maul’s double-edged lightsaber. Chubby Ghyslain and his less than graceful moves were recorded and apparently forgotten for months. Then in April 2003, students at Ghyslain’s school (Michaël Caron, Jérôme Laflamme and Jean-Michel Rheault) found the recording and quickly began sharing it with their friends with the file name, ‘Jackass_starwars_funny.wmv’. It ended up on the p2p program Kazaa and weblogs started to host the video. Not long after, millions around the world were downloading and watching the video online. In Nov 2006 the Viral marketing company, The Viral Factory, collated page impression figures from websites such as YouTube and Google Videos. They determined that this video as of Nov 2006 had been viewed 900 million times the highest total at that time.

    Students put the video online



    httpv://youtu.be/Y8ZygrcBFdg

    In the Court transcripts from a lawsuit the Raza family filed, it revealed Jérôme Laflamme had discovered the tape when we took the equipment to film a varsity football game. Laflamme showed the tape to Jean-Michel Rheault who then copied it. “All I did was take the cassette, digitize it on the studio computer to pull a joke on Ghyslain. After that, I had nothing to do with it,” Rheault would later say. The third defendant who claims not to know the other two somehow came across a copy of the video and created a website to post the video online. All three in the run-up to the lawsuit denied that they were responsible with Rheault claiming, “It’s no fun what happened here, but that’s the problem with the Internet. Things travel fast.”

    httpv://youtu.be/mNbLCA4WHCk

    The video first appeared on the Internet on the evening of April 14, 2003, but quickly spread the globe. The video was so popular and so widely circulated that sites hosting the video where recording millions of downloads. One website solely dedicated to the Star Wars Kid video recorded 76 million hits by October 2004. The video itself might have died away but soon people were adding effects and editing the video to make new versions. Some special effects people like Bryan Dube, an employee from Raven Software added Star War’s effects, music and opening sequences. Several versions were made with various themes but the most well-liked involved Star War effects, although a matrix version was heavily downloaded. The Star Wars Kid fame soon split over into merchandising and T-shirts, mugs and other paraphernalia that are still are available online.
    While the video travelled through the Internet with people laughing at Raza, many others identified with him as they remembered their own awkward high school years. As the clip’s popularity increased, web bloggers, waxy.org and jish.nu, were able to track down Ghyslain. Jish Mukerji from jish.nu was able to get this short interview in 2003 (translated from French):

    Interview

    [bigquote quote=”What I saw was mean. It was violent. People were telling me to commit suicide” author=”Ghyslain Raza in a 2013 Macleans interview”]

    Jish: Ghyslain?
    Yes.
    My name’s Jish and I am calling you from San Francisco, California and I’d like to interview you. Do you speak English too?
    Only a little bit.
    Well, I’ll try to speak in French, but I’ll apologize in advance since my French isn’t perfect.
    Oh, that’s ok.
    The interview is concerning your martial arts video.
    Mm hmm.
    Did you know that over 500,000 people have viewed your video?
    Yes, I know.
    When you made the video, did you think this many people would be viewing it?
    No, I really never anticipated that.
    How did the video end up on the web?
    Actually, it was a mistake. The cassette was left in the studio and someone put it on the Internet.
    Then, I guess it wasn’t a friend who did this, more of an enemy?
    More or less. It was someone I knew.
    I only have a few more questions… There was something yellow on the floor in your video, what was that?
    It was probably something left behind in the studio from a previous session. I really don’t remember what it was.
    Some people have taken your video and have added some Star Wars special effects, have you seen these?
    Yes, I have seen some.
    What’s your opinion of these videos?
    From what I saw, they look very well-made. It’s surprising to see what people have done with a video that wasn’t meant to be seen. It’s interesting.
    Do you have a website?
    Personally, no.
    What are your favorite sites?
    I’m really into computers/computing, so my favourite sites are the ones from the different companies involved… Nothing that I visit regularly.
    Do you also read weblogs?
    No.
    We know that you have a laptop, cell phone, Palm and other gadgets like that. Do you have any other favorite gadgets that you would like to buy, perhaps something like an iPod?
    For the moment, I don’t have plans to buy any gadgets, but sometime soon I’d like to get an iPod.
    Do you use a Mac or a PC?
    At home, I use a PC, but I really like the world of Macintosh. It’s what I use at school.
    If you bought an iPod, would you get the PC or Mac version?
    Probably, I’d get the PC version.
    Well, thank you very much and good night.
    Good night.

    They also started an online campaign to raise money to get him an iPod. Thousands donated money and eventually, a 30GB iPod was in the mail to the Raza household along with $3600 in gift certificates for the Canadian electronic superstore, Future Shop. While Ghyslain said it was nice that something did come out of his experience he would have preferred that millions had not seen the video, which he had meant to be private. “People were laughing at me, … it was not funny at all.”
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    Psyc Hospital stay

    In fact, Ghyslain was tormented at school and became so despondent over the whole episode that he dropped out and got a private tutor even spending some time at the Pavillon Arc-en-ciel child psychiatry ward at the Trois-Rivières Regional Hospital Centre. He would later recall how other students would jump onto tables and make fun of him. “There was about 100 people in those halls. It was total chaos . . . Any opportunity was good enough to shout ‘Star Wars!’ ”

    Lawsuit

    We are deeply saddened by the current situation …
    -Lucasfilm

    The Raza family filed a lawsuit against four students who had encoded and spread the video (Charges were dropped against François Labarre because of lack of evidence). The lawsuit was finally scheduled to go to courts in April 2006 with the Raza family seeking $351,000 in damages. In 2006, days before the case was due to go in front of the judge, an out of court settlement was reached for an undisclosed amount, although some online sites quote the $US250,000 figure.

    Star Wars Part

    The negative effects of the video’s popularity is cited as one of the reasons George Lucas, the Star Wars creator resisted a huge online petition to give Raza a bit part in the third and final installment of Star Wars. An online petition to do just that collected almost 150,000 signatures, which attracted the attention of mainstream media. In a BBC interview, Lucasfilm was quoted as saying “Obviously there has been a tremendous show of support for Ghyslain with tens of thousands of fans rallying around him … However, we are deeply saddened by the current situation and any difficulties this unwanted publicity might be causing him and his family.” Needless to say, he didn’t get the part.

    Latter life

    Ghyslain later went to McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and in 2010 became the president of the Patrimoine Trois-Rivières, a society devoted to the conservation of the cultural heritage of his hometown of Trois-Rivières. In 2013 he released an interview with a Canadian magazine talking about his ordeal. Inspired to break his silence after a spate of online bullying Ghyslain says, “You’ll survive. You’ll get through it,” he said. “And you’re not alone. You are surrounded by people who love you.”

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    MacArthur and the Emperor

    Behind the camera: MacArthur’s official photographer Gaetano Faillace
    Where: MacArthur’s personal residence in the US Embassy in Tokyo
    Photo Summary: Emperor Hirohito and General MacArthur meeting for the first time
    Picture Taken: September 27, 1945
    This image is in the public domain because it was taken by a federal employee, Gaetano Faillace

    After the Japanese surrender in 1945, the American’s took on the task of occupying Japan and reforming the militaristic nation into a modern country that would never again threaten its neighbors. To minimize the number of American soldiers needed to keep the country under control the occupation command, known as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) or GHQ (General Headquarters), maintained the Emperor in his position of head of the state and as a rallying point for the Japanese people. Under pressure from other Allied nations, the American public (Immediately after war 70% of Americans wanted him killed), and elements inside Japan itself for destruction of the Japanese God-Emperor the SCAP had this picture published to show that Emperor Hirohito was supported by MacArthur and the occupation forces.

    Taking the picture

    In 1945 a meeting was arranged for MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito to meet and to discuss how to save his throne. Arriving at 10:00 on September 27, 1945, in his Rolls Royce the Emperor and his entourage of Imperial guards and advisers, were greeted by American SCAP officials Faubion Bowers and Bonner Fellers. The Americans saluted the Emperor and he first bowed to them and then shook their hands. Bowers then took the Emperor’s top hat which seemed to alarm Hirohito who as the God Emperor of the Japanese people was not used to be people taking things from him. As the American officer was taking the hat MacArthur burst into the room:

    in that stentorian voice of burnished gold that thrilled everyone who heard it, ‘You are very, very welcome, sir!'” It was the first time Bowers had ever heard the general say ‘sir’ to anyone. The supreme commander reached out to clasp the Emperor’s hand, and the emperor simultaneously bowed so deeply that the handshake ended up taking place above his head. — Embracing Defeat by John Dower

    MacArthur then took Hirohito into a private room with just the Imperial translator, Okumura Katsuzo. The Supreme Commander and the Emperor, through his translator, spent 40min together and swore to keep the contents of their conversation secret. Though over the years some details leaked out. According to the Americans, Emperor Hirohito offered to take responsibility for the war which MacArthur brushed aside. This is contrasted by the Japanese. Thirty years after the meeting the Imperial translator, Okumura Katsuzo, released his memoirs which claimed that MacArthur was “a fawning courtier awed by his proximity to ‘Your Majesty’ and extraordinarily solicitous in his comments.”
    In all three photos were taken. In one Supreme commander’s eyes were closed and the Emperor’s mouth gaping open, Hirohito’s gaping open also ruined the second. The third is the one that was published.

    The response

    When the image was published on September 29, 1945, it caused a sensation in Japan. At a glance those who saw the picture understand who was the real Emperor in post-war Japan. MacArthur in his almost causal dress without medals towering over Hirohito who stood stiffly in a formal suit looking uncomfortable at the whole situation. The Image set-up was, the media adapt, MacArthur’s idea.

    When the papers hit the street the Japanese censors at the Home Ministry, which this close to the surrender were still controlling the Japanese presses, became outraged and tried to have the picture censored. SCAP was then able to win two victories first by publishing an image showing who was really in charge and second overruling the Japanese censors there-by introducing Japanese to the concept of freedom of the press.
    Many Japanese remember seeing the image and it finally sinking in that they were the conquered and that the Americans and their General MacArthur were in charge.
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    General MacArthur

    Douglas MacArthur was a career military man who lived from January 26, 1880, to April 5, 1964. Coming from a long line of military men he was valedictorian when he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He took the rank of First Captain when he graduated top of the class of 1903. Rising through the ranks he was brigadier general during World War I when he led American troops on the Western Front.
    After the war, he was involved in many civil disturbances in America and in the Philippines. In 1937 he retired from the military and become Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines. When war broke out he had already been called back into service and he was General when the Americans lost the Philippines after a series of shocking victories by the Japanese Imperial army. He was forced to abandon his troops and flee to Australia where he would rebuild an American Pacific Army and after years of hard fighting force Japan out of the war. He oversaw the occupation of Japan with the official title of Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) which was also the name of his department that oversaw the everyday details of the occupation.

    When war broke out in Korea he was again leading Allied armies this time against the Communists. During the Korean War, he frequently came into conflict with President Truman and on April 10, 1951, an order was signed relieving him of command. When he returned to America is was his first visit to the continental United States since 1937. His boy Arthur IV, now aged 13, had actually never been to the United States.
    He worked in the private sector and his advice was sought after by many a president. On April 5, 1964, he died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center of biliary cirrhosis. He was granted a State Funeral by President Johnson and that he be buried “with all the honor a grateful nation can bestow on a departed hero.”

    Emperor Hirohito

    Emperor Hirohito lived from April 29, 1901, to January 7, 1989, and was the 124th emperor of Japan. When he took power Japan was an Imperial military superpower with the ninth largest economy, the third-biggest Navy and one of the five permanent members of the council of the League of Nations. During his reign, he oversaw and approved of an aggressive military takeover of most of Asia which eventually lead to Japan attacking America starting its entry into World War II. After the war, the occupying force, including MacArthur did everything in its power to shield the Emperor from prosecution of war crimes often by laying the blame on his advisers a role they were only too happy to take as they had pledged their lives to protect the Japanese throne. After the war and after the American had left Hirohito focused on official duties such as welcoming head of states to Japan and his hobby marine biology. He published many scientific papers and contributed the description of several dozen species of Hydrozoa that were new to science.

    Gaetano Faillace

    From 1943 to 1945 during some of the toughest fighting in the Pacific Faillace was General MacArthur’s photographer. During the occupation, he followed the General in his official duties. During the War, he took some of the most famous images of the General including his return to the Philippines and at the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri. His photograph of MacArthur looking out at Corregidor Island, of the Philippines, was on the cover of the general’s memoirs, Reminiscences. On December 31, 1991, he died of cancer in Fayetteville, N.C. He was 87.

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    Depression Mother

    Behind the camera:
    Where: Just outside a temporary settlement called, Pea-Pickers Camp, on the outskirts of Nipomo, California. The camp was a temporary encampment for migrant farm workers and their families
    Photo Summary: Florence Owens Thompson flanked by daughter Katherine (age 4) on the left and Ruby (age 5) on the right. The Baby on Florence’s lap is Norma aged 1
    Picture Taken: Early March, 1936
    This image is in the public domain because it was taken by Dorothea Lange

    Dorothea Lange’s famous picture of Florence Owens Thompson was taken during the Great Depression. While the book, Grapes of Wrath, became the literary representation of America’s poor during the ’30s, Lange’s ‘Migrant Mother’ picture became the visual one. Lange took the image of Florence Thompson with her family near the small town of Nipomo as part of a photo assignment for the government covering the plight of migrant farm workers. The official in charge of documenting and photographing the American poor for the federal project saw thousands of pictures as part of duties but describes the “Migrant Mother” as the “ultimate” photo of the Depression Era. The picture itself is part of a series of 6 and shows from left to right: Katherine age 4(head turned), Florence Owens (later married as Thompson) age 34, and Ruby Owens (head turned) age 5. The Baby on Florence’s lap is Norma aged 1.

    Depression photographer

    Dorothea Lange, the photographer was born in Hoboken New Jersey on May 26, 1895. At the age of seven, she developed polio which ravaged her right leg giving her a life long limp. In New York, she studied photography, and in 1918 she moved to the West coast opening a successful portrait studio in San Francisco. After the Great Depression, she became famous for her portraits of the effects of the stock market crash. Her pictures got the attention of the federal Resettlement Administration (RA), later called the Farm Security Administration (FSA), who in the mid ’30s offered her a job documenting America’s poor.

    Taking the Picture

    It was during March 1936 that as part of her effort to photograph migrants for the government that she took the famous shot of Florence Owens Thompson. Lange was returning to her Berkley, California home after spending a month taking pictures of migrant farmers around Los Angles. She had just passed through Santa Maria and was on the outskirts of another small Californian town, Nipomo when she saw a sprawling settlement with a sign declaring its name, Pea-Pickers Camp. Thousands had descended on the camp in hopes of getting work picking Peas in the surrounding farms. Unfortunately, an early cold snap had wiped out the crop and over 2000 people were stranded at the camp. Lange actually passed the camp as she was anxious to get home but after much internal debate decided to do a quick stop before continuing home.

    Dorothea Lange took a number of pictures of the family moving closer and closer each time.


    A U-turn brought her back to the camp and she quickly noticed a subject. In a 1960’s interview, she would recall that “I was following instinct, not reason, I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet.” Over 10 min and using her Graflex camera, she took 6 shots, with each exposure she moved closer to the family. The final vertical picture is what would later become the famous, “Migrant Mother”. The usually well organized Lange took detailed notes, but perhaps in her haste to get home only got the very basic of information, not even getting the subject’s name. Years later she would remember that the woman, “told me her age, that she was 32. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that her children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent, with her children huddled around her and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it”. She packed up her equipment and continued on her way, “I did not approach the tents and shelters of other stranded pea-pickers,” she remembered. “I knew I had recorded the essence of my assignment.”
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    When she returned home, Lange developed the pictures and immediately sent them off to the San Francisco News who used two of the 6 shots but not the now famous, “Migrant Mother”. The paper ran the images in their March 10, 1936, edition under the headline: “Ragged, Hungry, Broke, Harvest Workers Live in Squalor.” The national media quickly picked up the story and used the “Migrant Mother” picture across the country. Public outcry ensured that the federal government quickly sent the “Pickers Camp” settlement 20,000 pounds of food.

    Florence Thompson Emerges


    Colorized version of the iconic Lange image

    Colorized version of the iconic Lange image


    The identity of the women in the picture wasn’t discovered until the late 70’s almost 40 years after the picture was taken. It was Florence Thompson herself who got in touch with the editors of her local newspaper, the Modesto Bee to tell her story.
    Florence Owens Thompson was born on September 1, 1901, in the Indian Territory of the Cherokee Nation with the name maiden name, Florence Leona Christie. Both of her parents claimed Cherokee blood rights to the land making her a full-blooded Native American of the Cherokee Nation. She lived on a small farm on the Cherokee Territory and when she was 17 married Cleo Owens, a 23-year-old farmer. They had three children before they moved with other members of the Owen family to California where they found work in the forestry and farming industries. After Wall Street crashed in 1929, millwork dried up and the family, then with 5 children moved to Oroville in northern California where the Owen clan found work on the surrounding farms.
    [bigquote quote=”we lived under that bridge” author=”Thompson”]
    Florence’s husband Cleo, sadly died shortly after the move when he caught a fever one day while picking peaches. At the time of his death, she was pregnant and the Owen family offered to take some of the children, an offer Florence refused. She stayed with her husband’s family for two years working in the fields during the day and at a restaurant at night to support her family. In 1933 she found out that she was pregnant again and fled back to her parent’s home out of fear the father would take her child.
    She lived with her family for a short time before they too moved out to California in hopes of better work. Over the next few years, the family along with thousands of migrant workers drove up and down California, camping along the way, in search of farm work so that she could feed her and her children. In 1935 she started a relationship with James R. Hill and soon she was pregnant again, eventually giving birth to a girl, Norma Lee in March of 1935. With Hill she had three more children, life was hard and they moved constantly throughout California always just making it, just getting enough food on the table. Thompson would later recall, “when Steinbeck wrote in The Grapes of Wrath about those people living under the bridge at Bakersfield—at one time we lived under that bridge. It was the same story. Didn’t even have a tent then, just a ratty old quilt.” Hill who was remembered by her daughter as not having much ambition, eventually moved out of the family’s life and after World War II she married hospital administrator George Thompson who Florence was finally able to find stability with and resources to support her family.

    Not what she seems

    Around the same time, the Modesto Bee article was published, author Bill Ganzel was writing a book, Dust Bowl Descent, about people photographed by the RA during the depression. During his research, he came upon Florence Thompson’s story, tracked her down in 1979. During his interviews, he was able to get Florence and her family’s version of what happened when Lange pulled into the camp and took their picture.
    In March of 1936 Florence then still with Jim Hill had finished work picking beets and were off to the Pajoro Valley in their Hudson Sedan in hopes of finding work in the Pajoro Valley’s lettuce fields. On Highway 101, just outside Nipomo, the Hudson’s timing chain broke and they were able to get the car into the pea picker’s camp in hopes of making repairs. They were amazed at a number of people in the camp and the conditions they were living in. Florence would later recall that while making a meal for the family children from the surrounding camps came over to beg because they didn’t have any food. Disaster struck when the boys punctured the radiator with a screwdriver while trying to fix their car. They then had to remove the radiator and take it to town in order to do repairs.
    While the boys were in town Dorothea Lange came into the camp and took her pictures. In Lange’s field notes, she described the family as, “Seven hungry children. Father is native Californian. Destitute in pea pickers’ camp … because of failure of the early pea crop. These people had just sold their tires to buy food.” Florence insists that Lange never asked her any questions. According to Florence she just took the pictures and told her that they would never be published and her family would later tell Bill Ganzel, “There’s no way we sold our tires, because we didn’t have any to sell … The only ones we had were on the Hudson and we drove off in them. I don’t believe Dorothea Lange was lying, I just think she had one story mixed up with another. Or she was borrowing to fill in what she didn’t have.”
    When the story broke and the food was delivered to the Pea Pickers camp, the Owens-Hill family had already moved on and reached their destination, the outskirts of Watsonville, in Pajaro Valley.

    Mama’s been shot, Mama’s been shot
    Thompson’s kids

    It was here while selling newspapers to make extra money that the family saw the front cover with their mother’s picture. Due to a typing error, a large ink spot appeared in the middle of Florence’s forehead and first the children thought that their mother had been shot. The boys remember running back to where their mother was camped screaming, “‘Mama’s been shot, Mama’s been shot,’ … We both ran back to camp, and, of course, she was OK. We showed her the picture, and she just looked at it. She didn’t say nothin’.” In 1979 Bill Ganzel recreated the “Migrant Mother” taking a picture of Florence Thompson and her three daughters, Norma Rydlewski, Katherine McIntosh and Ruby Sprague the same three who were present in the 1936 picture.

    Florence always hated the picture and whenever she saw it would get angry because she thought Lange was getting rich off her image. However, because Lange was taking the picture for the federal government she never directly received any money. The picture did provide Lange celebrity and respect from her colleagues. Lange’s childhood polio would come to haunt her in her later years and she suffered from bleeding ulcers and post-polio syndrome. On October 11, 1965, she died at the age of seventy without ever knowing who the subject was in her famous picture.

    Life moves on

    Florence’s extended family grew through the ages and she passed on her legacy of hard work and loyalty to her 10 children, 39 grandchildren, 74 great-grandchildren. She always hated the picture but in 1983 it would come in useful. In early 1983 then 81 Thompson was diagnosed with cancer. Treatment of the disease triggered a stroke and she soon required round the clock care. By the summer of 1983, her bill was reaching $1400 a week. The family couldn’t afford it and turned to the public. Jack Foley of the San Jose Mercury News picked up the story and it got national attention. Soon envelopes started pouring in from all over the country eventually raising more than $35,000. Florence’s children were overwhelmed by the response and reflected that “None of us ever really understood how deeply Mama’s photo affected people … I guess we had only looked at it from our perspective. For Mama and us, the photo had always been a bit of a curse. After all those letters came in, I think it gave us a sense of pride.” The response of the nation seemed to improve Florence’s health but she never recovered from the stroke. On September 16, 1983, Florence Thompson died at her son’s home. A nurse who was helping out with her care recalls, “Right before Florence died … she opened her eyes and looked right at me. It was the most conscious she had been in a long time. I went to get the family. They were holding her, kissing her cheek, stroking her hair. Telling her how much they loved her. And then she took her last breath. It was a beautiful, very peaceful moment. It felt very complete.”

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    Naked Lennon

    Behind the camera: Annie Leibovitz
    Where: Lennon’s New York bedroom
    Photo Summary: John Lennon and Yoko Ono from cover of Rolling Stone Magazine
    Picture Taken: Picture taken on December 8, 1980 for Rolling Stones magazine Cover 335, January 22, 1981

    The cover of Rolling Stones Edition 335 (January 22, 1981) was the famous shot of a naked John Lennon clinging to a fully clothed Yoko Ono. It was taken just hours before John was killed by crazed fan Mark Chapman. In 2005 Yoko and Lennon’s cover of Rolling Stone was voted the best cover by a panel of magazine editors who reviewed the best covers in the past four decades.

    Taking the Picture


    The morning of Dec 8, 1980, Annie Leibovitz visited the New York apartment of John Lennon and Yoko Ono to do a photo shoot for Rolling Stones. Annie originally tried to just get a shot of Lennon without Yoko but Lennon insisted that she be on the cover too. Annie recalled that “nobody wanted her on the cover”. She then thought of trying to recreate the kissing scene from his album cover, Double Fantasy an image that moved Annie Leibovitz very much.

    What is tadalista? Erectile dysfunction (ED). ED is now wellunderstood, and there are often also emotionalsymptoms, such as sildenafil, may cause serious ideeffects or side effects.

    “What is interesting is she said she’d take her top off and I said, ‘Leave everything on’ — not really preconceiving the picture at all. Then he curled up next to her and it was very, very strong. You couldn’t help but feel that she was cold and he looked like he was clinging on to her. I shot some test Polaroids first,” Leibovitz wrote a month later in Rolling Stone, “and when I showed them to John and Yoko, John said, ‘You’ve captured our relationship exactly’. I looked him in the eye and we shook on it.”
    Later that day Mark Chapman shot John as he was walking from his limo into his apartment.

    Doctors at the hospital worked frantically to stabilize Lennon but he had lost too much blood and was pronounced dead.  Yoko Ono asked the hospital to keep it a secret so that Ono could tell their son before he saw it on the news but an ABC reporter just happened to be in the hospital for an injury and scooped the story.

    When Annie Leibovitz heard that he had been shot she rushed to the hospital. She photographed the doctor announcing John’s death at the hospital.

    The last photo of Lennon taken with Chapman in the background.  By Paul Goresh

    The last photo of Lennon taken with Chapman in the background. By Paul Goresh

    Annie Leibovitz

    Leibovitz was one of six children, and was a “military brat”; her father was a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, and family moved frequently when she was young. Leibovitz was influenced by her mother, a modern dance instructor.
    In high school, she became interested in various artistic endeavours, and wrote and played music. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute. She became interested in photography after taking pictures on a trip to visit her family, who was then based in the Philippines. For several years, she continued to develop her photography skills while she worked various jobs, including a stint on a kibbutz in Israel for several months in 1969.
    When Leibovitz returned to America in 1970, she became involved with Rolling Stone magazine, which had just launched a short time before. In 1973, publisher Jann Wenner named Leibovitz chief photographer of the magazine, and she remained with the magazine until 1983.
    This photo is often quoted as being the last picture of John but the very, very last photograph was a snap taken by a fan, Paul Goresh, who happened to be standing outside the Dakota building at that moment when John agreed to sign an album for another fan, Mark Chapman, who turned out to be his assassin.
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    Fairey Obama Poster

    Behind the camera: Mannie Garcia took the photo Fairey made the poster
    Where: Obama at the National Press Club in Washington
    Photo Summary: Obama
    Picture Taken: On April 27, 2006 Mannie Garcia took the photo on left. In early 2008 Shepard Fairey made his poster.

    As the Obama presidential campaign started to build up steam one image quickly became the unofficial symbol, that of the Obama hope poster. Designed by graffiti artist Shepard Fairey the image quickly went viral and became the iconic image of the campaign. After the election, it emerged that Fairey used an AP image as the basis and since then he has become embroiled in a legal case over who owns the copyright.
    History

    When Obama was just starting his presidential campaign Fairey became inspired to create an image that would help the Obama’s presidential run. Mindful of the damage a “street” artist could do supporting a mainstream candidate Fairey asked advice from his associate, Yosi Sergant, a marketing/publicity guru who had ties to the Obama campaign. Yosi was able to get the go-ahead from Obama’s people and after an Internet image search found one that he thought would be perfect. He made the poster in one day and sent it to Yosi who gave it a green light. This original poster had the word PROGRESS on the bottom. Immediately he did a run of 700 posters which he split giving 350 away and selling the other 350 to make money to do another run. The first run quickly sold out paying for the second edition of 4,000 posters that were given away at Obama rallies. The second run had the word PROGRESS changed to HOPE at the behest of the Obama campaign. In an interview with blogger Ben Arnon from the Huffington Post Fairey and Sergant recall what happened next:

    1) After an google image search Fairey picks the infamous AP image. 2)Simple is best, by making the image simpler its easier to reproduce and according to Fairey, "I want strong," 3)Knowing that its a presidential campaign he uses a patriotic red, white and blue color scheme. 4)Asked about the socialist red Fairey says "... don't let the Soviets steal our red. Red is a good primary color," 5)The first 700 posters used the word "PROGRESS". Later runs were asked by the Obama campaign to use HOPE and CHANGE 6)Instead of a flag pin Fairey uses his logo so that Fairey collectors will buy it

    SF: As soon as I posted it on my web site a lot of people that go to my web site saw it. Yosi also blasted it out to a lot of his contacts. It became very clear quickly that the demand for an image like that had not been supplied and that the Obama supporters were very hungry for it and also very motivated to spread it…
    I think a perfect pop culture example of something like that is the Rolling Stones tongue logo. The tongue was a secondary logo on the back of the Sticky Fingers album, but it was iconic and simple. Now it’s sort of undisputed as the Rolling Stones logo even though it was never created intentionally to be that. It found an audience and it manifested…
    BA: Tell me more about that initial run of 350 posters.
    SF: Well, the way I’m used to doing things when I print up posters is I print some to sell and I print some to put up on the street. I fund the ones I put up on the street with the ones I sell. … I actually lowered the price on the print thinking that a lot of people might be pessimistic about Obama’s chances and it might not sell well. And I included my Obey star embedded in the Obama logo, not to try to highjack Obama’s credibility as some people have said. But rather, because I know that my hard-core collectors would feel that they had to buy the poster just because it had an Obey logo. Therefore, I was more or less forcing my audience to fund further perpetuation of the image.
    BA: Was the majority of your audience that bought the original print Los Angeles-based or nationwide?
    SF: Definitely nationwide. I had no idea that it would happen but immediately after those prints were sold out they were selling for $2,000-$6,000 on the Internet. …
    SF: I had already read rumors that I was profiting big-time off of the Obama image. Even though that wasn’t valid, I was very cautious not to do anything that would even vaguely validate that argument. So I actually ended up selling a lot of fine art commissions of the Obama image to private collectors and using that money to print more posters rather than continuing to sell the posters. We’ve sold less than 2,000 posters and have printed over 200,000 of them. And we’ve printed 500,000 stickers.

    Copyright claim

    Following the adage that the best defence is a good offence Fairey filed a lawsuit on February 9, 2009, against The Associated Press (AP) to declare that his Obama poster is protected from AP copyright infringement claims because the poster falls under “Fair Use Laws”. On NPR’s Fresh Air radio program Fairey had this to say:

    Well, the AP was threatening to sue me, and they first contacted me and said, you know, let’s figure out how to work this out amicably, which I was [very] open to and said, you know, I’m glad to pay the original license fee for the image. For all the reasons I’ve already given you, I didn’t think that I needed to, but I’m glad to do it because, you know, I’d rather just make this easy for everyone.
    And then they said no, we want damages. And then they ran a piece in the National Press basically saying I stole the photo, which as an artist that works from references frequently, you know, I feel that they’re calling into question the validity of my method of working … I felt that I needed to fight the AP not for myself only, but for a whole group of artists that would be self-censored, probably, because they can’t afford the photos and they don’t want to be in a legal entanglement over using those types of images to communicate a message.

    On October 16, 2009, Fairey admitted that yes he had knowingly used the AP photo and had destroyed evidence to cloud that fact. In the ongoing lawsuit in April of 2010, a Judge ordered Fairey to say who if anyone helped destroy evidence that the AP photo was the one Fairey based the Obama poster on. U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered Fairey’s lawyers to “disclose relevant documents that were deleted or destroyed from Fairey’s files and when the deletions or destruction occurred.”

    Shepard Fairey's United States Marshals Service mug shot taken in February 2012


    Further complicating the issue is that Mannie Garcia claims that it’s not AP that has copyright but him. He claims that his contract with the AP gave him copyright over all his photos. However, when asked how he felt about the image he said that “so proud of the photograph and that Fairey did what he did artistically with it, and the effect it’s had,” but that he did not “condone people taking things, just because they can, off the Internet.”
    In January of 2011 “The Associated Press, Shepard Fairey and Mr. Fairey’s companies Obey Giant Art, Inc., Obey Giant LLC, and Studio Number One, Inc., have agreed in principle to settle their pending copyright infringement lawsuit over rights in the Obama Hope poster and related merchandise… In settling the lawsuit, the AP and Mr. Fairey have agreed that neither side surrenders its view of the law.” Also included in the settlement was a confidential financial payment.
    In February of 2012 Fairey “pleaded guilty in Manhattan Federal Court on Friday to one count of criminal contempt for destroying documents, manufacturing evidence and other misconduct.” In September of 2012, he was sentenced in a Manhattan federal court, for tampering with evidence, to two years of probation and a $25,000 fine.

    Shepard Fairey

    Frank Shepard Fairey is an American graphic artist whose work is similar to the Warhol pop art scene. His art, brand and logo based on the “André the Giant” emerged from the skateboarding scene and now his brand and slogan OBEY has a clothing line and print collection. He is seen as a sort of expert on graphic art and was interviewed in the Chevolution movie about the Che Guevara image. His Obama poster was included in The Smithsonian and he has also works in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
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