Noam Galai, a quiet, friendly young man who works as a photographer and advertising agent for AOL, never knew that his face would become a symbol of unrest and revolution. It is a stunning example of how modern technology can rob someone of their very identity.
The image of Galai’s scream has been adopted by revolutionaries in the Middle East and Latin America, and by graffiti artists worldwide. Galai took the picture five years ago, when he was 21 and playing with his camera. The exaggerated primal scream, an unmistakable portrayal of boiled over frustration, hit a nerve. It worked so well that his parents were concerned.
“They said, ‘Why is our son taking a picture like that?’ So I knew the images made people flinch. They felt something,” he said.
But the power of the image drove others to steal it. Worldwide, people use his image for many purposes. The picture appears on t-shirts, buttons, album covers as well as graffiti used to inspire revolution. Despite how popular his picture has become, Galai had to pay $30 for a t-shirt with his own image. He recently created a website to sell products with his image.
“If someone is making money off my image, it might as well be me,” Galai said. “But it’s still weird to see face in so many places and so many different uses. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.”