Like the iconic Che Guevara photo taken by Alberto Korda in the 1960s, Noam Galai's self portrait is found on walls, book covers, in magazines and on T-shirts..... and even seen in ad campaigns.
F-Stoppers has made this short interview with Noam, which you can also see on the site dedicated to this phenomena: the stolen scream. It's a fascinating tale of how one image took over the world, without the creator ever credited for it, and at the start he wasn't even aware of the worldwide fame. Noam takes it very well, all things considered, very patiently telling graphic artists who are basing their work on his image (and selling it) that they really shouldn't do that without asking him, crediting him, and/or perhaps paying him. At the same time he can't help but be fascinated by how the art world is propagating his image for him, how it's taken on a life of its own. "My face is fighting the regime in Iran" he notices, clearly a bit amused by that. He was also rather amused that Getty turned the image down.
The problem isn't exposure, he's getting plenty of that, it's recognition, his name is never attached to his photograph, his artwork. His most famous image is not propelling him to fame, and opening up career-possibilities for him. It's an image that has gone viral, and taken on a life of its own shortly after it was posted to Flickr with the little All rights reserved ⓒ Noam Galai notice repeated twice on the page.
What if you took a set of images that became so popular that it was used hundreds of times all around the world by hundreds of artists, businesses, websites, and publications? As photographers, it’s what we all dream about but what if you were never paid for your work? What if you weren’t even given credit? What if your images were stolen for years and you never had any idea?