02 Jul 2007 | 317 words | creative commons copyright photos

Couple of days ago i got this flickr mail from someone working for Tobacco International which describes itself as the ‘The authority on the tobacco industry since 1886’. The person wanted to know if he could use this picture of mine for ‘a profile on the tobacco industry of the middle east for our upcoming July/August issue’

I told him to go a ahead and use the picture and send me a copy of the mag if he did indeed do so. As a matter of fact the photo is cc-by licensed so he did not even need to ask me. Now today the same guy got back to me to thank me for my permission and went on to inquire:

By the way, we are looking for more photos for this story if you have any. We’re looking for photos from the Middle East of adults smoking cigarettes – with a smile if possible. They should be shots that are emblematic of the region – in dress or background that couldn’t come from anywhere else.

Guess he must have mistaken me for some kind of photo agency or something like this. Feed me a couple of orientalist stereotypes as keywords and see if i come up with more pictures. Now i happen to have at least one picture that more or less perfectly fits his request, but i do not think that i am selling (or giving away) pictures of friends of mine to promote smoking (note: the license does not allow for use in a commercial publication):

Not that i have anything against smoking or smokers, but if it comes to the middle east i definitely prefer smoking argile to cigarettes. Plus Nat reminded me that it would just be plain wrong to hand over that picture:

you have no god!!! AND aiding the tobacco industry AND aiding the perpetuation on monolithic stereotyped orientalist imagery?!??!!!