In the curious case of the SFO AirTrain's mysterious appearance in Al Qaeda's Inspire DIY-terrorism magazine, some enterprising Internet types have tracked down the source of the original photo: it was apparently lifted from the Flickr portfolio of Southern California photographer Ed McGowan.
After learning of the copyright violation/call to blow stuff up, McGowan tweeted:
McGowan later told the Chronicle he shot the photo way back in July of 2010 for a photo-a-day project: “I was doing a 365 Project, and I was taking a picture every day,” he explained. “I left San Francisco with my wife and we were coming from the airport.”
Whichever Inspire photo editor deemed the shot suitable for publication took some photoshop liberties McGowan's original, which is a lot more stylistic and a lot less sinister-looking than the one that hit the web this week.
McGowan, who says he usually chases down people who lift his photos without permission, told the Chronicle he would "rather just stay under the radar" in this case.