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SA woman's face became a stock photo used in ads worldwide - and she didn't know

4 October 2019 4:43 PM
Tags:
Advertising
Photography
Shubnum Khan
stock photo
stock image
image rights

Shubnum Khan was shocked when she discovered her face in a series of international ads that she had nothing to do with.

Durban-based writer Shubnum Khan's face "went viral", appearing on a range of different adverts across the world, without her knowledge.

Khan's face accidentally became a stock image after she participated in a free photoshoot back when she was in university.

A Cape Town photographer took her picture and promised to give Khan and a few of her friends some professional portraits.

Little did she know that her face would later be used in an immigration campaign in Canada, a McDonald's ad in China, selling carpets in New York, promoting miracle face creams online and on dating apps in France.

Khan says she's seen at least 60 advertising images online in which her face is used to promote a variety of products and causes.

A friend contacted me and asked me: 'Do you know you're in Canda in this newspaper advertising for immigration?' That's what led me to start searching online.

Shubnum Khan, Writer

Khan and her friends had signed release forms for the photos‚ but they assumed it was the document which was granting permission for the images to be used for the photographer’s portfolio.

I was under the impression that I was signing it for the photographer to use it for his portfolio.

Shubnum Khan, Writer

We basically signed away those photos to be used for anything. Now they're in all those adverts and we haven't been paid anything.

Shubnum Khan, Writer

She's warned others to always read the fine print when getting their images taken.

Khan published a thread on Twitter, titled The story of How I Ended Up with my Face On a McDonald's Advert in China - A Cautionary Tale.

Read it below.

Listen to her bizarre story on Afternoon Drive with John Maytham:


4 October 2019 4:43 PM
Tags:
Advertising
Photography
Shubnum Khan
stock photo
stock image
image rights

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