Story behind the photographIn mid March 2008 I have photographed a man shining shoes of a woman customer. The man’s name is Bryan and he is a well known personality to anyone working or visiting Sydney. He has shoe shining station placed in a very busy Pitt Street Mall. As far as I know, he may be the only person offering shoeshine service in the street in Australia, as it is not a service commonly offered in Australian streets. My photograph of Bryan and his customer, at least to me, is one of a positive attitude and enterprise. Bryan, down on luck, does not beg for money. He puts a solid day’s work to earn his living. In Sydney, where almost every corner of CBD is now occupied by beggars, Brian’s approach to life and financial misfortunes is commendable.
In mid September 2008 I start receiving emails accusing me of being racist. After few days someone with a little bit more sense makes me aware my photograph has been altered (without my authorization) to portray the shoe shine man to be at the time senator Barack Obama and his customer to be Sarah Palin, who at the time was Alaska’s Governor. The altered image was apparently distributed via email. The plagiarist chose to keep my copyright notice, and thus implying the highly controversial image was created by me. It was not.
Originally I have stated I will not publish the plagiarised work. However, now due to other circumstances I have decided to show it, so people can understand why I am trying so hard to defend my name against this plagiarised image. Please note how it still displays my name and the name of this website. I have added wording on top of this image, so if it distributed again, there will be no ambiguity about its authorship.