Author’s ‘scary’ Twitter thread about how her photos are used for ads across the world is a must read

The viral Twitter thread about how one woman's face ended up on hundreds of ads across the world has blown away people's mind. While some thought the reality of stock photography was very dark and bizarre others slammed the photographer for not explaining properly.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 30, 2018 9:52:15 am

stock photos, stock photographs rights, Shubnum Khan, ad agency stock images, viral news, viral twitter thread, viral news, indian express The photographs were taken when she was a student and the photographer made her sign a contract but did not clearly explain where exactly the images would be used and how. (Source: Shubnum Khan/ Twitter)

You often see faces of smiling men and women on ads. But do you know most of these images are used by the ad agencies without permission? Imagine of how you would feel if you see your photos being used in random ads? Well, here’s how one South African author took to Twitter to address the issue when she found out how her photos were being “misused”.

Shubnum Khan explained how, as a student, during her university days, she unknowingly gave a photographer the rights to her photos. Images that was going to be used as stock photographs across the world commercially from campaigns to advertisements and even testimonials.

She found out first time about it six years ago when randomly one of her images popped up on Canadian newspaper promoting rights of immigration.

Although she had no problem at the time, thinking it was a one time deal only, it did not end there. Over the years her photos have been used across the globe from America to China to sell products in ads, billboards, magazines over a zillion times without her any knowledge. More than often her identity, nationality, and profession are also changed as it suits the advertisers and she was shocked by all the revelations.

She contacted the photographer recently and wanted him to withdraw the pictures if not at least how her identity and image was being distorted, but in his defence, he said it was all done in a “legal way” and therefore not unethical. “I can also take on new identities. The most shocking of these are adverts to teach & care for kids – so who is actually with the kids? When I asked the photographer abt this, he says I signed away rights to ‘distortion of character including false names’,” she added on Twitter.

However, after much debate, she convinced him to take down the photographs from his website but he warned her that her image still might be in use if someone has already purchased them once.

With an idea to make more people aware, she shared the experience so that others would not have to face a similar thing.

Most people on Twitter found it very creepy and called it an “eye-opener” and asked others to be careful.

What do you think about this incident? Tell us in comments below.

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