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How Shubnum Khan Ended Up As The Face Behind Hundreds Of Advertisements Without Knowing

SHAHNAWAZ | 0
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| July 29 , 2018 , 14:22 IST

Shubnum Khan is a South African author and an artist renowned for her novel Onion Tears that chronicles the lives and journey of three generations of Indian Muslim women in South Africa. Khan is also a regular columnist with several famous publications. Hence fame would not be something she would be unaware of.

However, when she discovered that her photograph was being used for advertisements of various products and advocacy across the globe she was worried. Khan found out the reason behind this and shared the troublesome story on Twitter.

It all began with a friend of her found out that an image of Khan was being used to promote immigration in a Canadian newspaper.

She found out that her image was also being used to see carpets in New York, promoting hook-up sites in France, leading treks in Cambodia and also the face for dental sedation in Virginia Beach. Her image was also being used to promote Haloxyl, which is used to inhibit facial muscle tightening.

She was also the face behind McDonald's advertisement in multiple countries.

How Did This Happen

While in college Shubnum and her friends did a ‘Free’ photoshoot by a CT photographer who promised them professional portraits in exchange for the shoot. They also signed a release form allowing him to use the images for his portfolio.

When she contacted the Photographer, she realised the mistake she had made. The photographer informed her that he had been selling her image and that of others as stock photos.

This, however, was not all. The release form also gave the photographer the rights to distortion of character including false names. This enabled products to distort her image and present her as in the ‘before and after’ scenario.

Apart from the fact that she didn’t receive a penny for any of the advertisements that use her photo, Shubnum believes that these advertisements are downright dishonest in promoting their products.

Shubnum Khan’s advise to young people: Don't sign up for free photoshoots, read what you sign and also don't believe most of the things you read on the internet.