How Shubnum Khan Ended Up As The Face Behind Hundreds Of Advertisements Without Knowing
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.
So today I'm going to tell you the story of How I Ended Up with my Face On a McDonald's Advert in China - A Cautionary Tale. Six or so years ago, a friend in Canada posted a pic on my FB wall to say she found an advert of me promoting immigration in a Canadian newspaper. pic.twitter.com/QJ0nWpYNmQ— Shubnum Khan (@ShubnumKhan) July 28, 2018
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.
because while it's occasionally funny to randomly come across your face on a board at the McDonalds in China, you also don't want to be Dina M, complaining about post pregnancy melasma to the internet or calling out for prince charming on a white horse (ok, that bit is okay). pic.twitter.com/ykCvcZXNBE— Shubnum Khan (@ShubnumKhan) July 28, 2018
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.
After some wtf moments, a friend reminded me we did a photoshoot a few years ago. When I was at university I heard about a free photoshoot by a CT photographer who promised us professional portraits in exchange for shooting us. It was called the 100 Faces Shoot & the photographer— Shubnum Khan (@ShubnumKhan) July 28, 2018
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.
took photos of 100 various faces of all ages & races in Durban. Young friends & I were excited; we signed a release form at the start (I thought it was to give him permission to use the photos for his portfolio). We didn't read the small print. I know. It was stupid. pic.twitter.com/wAykaSpcub— Shubnum Khan (@ShubnumKhan) July 28, 2018
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.
And then suddenly all this facial work has you getting attention and you're Dina M, with a baby and post pregnancy melasma until Dermolyte comes to the rescue and gives you photoshopped finished skin. pic.twitter.com/uC0BXZfiwU— Shubnum Khan (@ShubnumKhan) July 28, 2018
but once that's all treated you can grace some book and magazine covers. pic.twitter.com/GwBOziNUmS— Shubnum Khan (@ShubnumKhan) July 28, 2018
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.
And the list goes on; numerous testimonials for different products, someone spotted a poster at a bustop in London, posters for McDonald's in India, China and S Korea, banking brochures, eye clinics, make up websites, laser eye treatments etc. pic.twitter.com/D9ODY9k45R— Shubnum Khan (@ShubnumKhan) July 28, 2018
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.