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Ben Carson's First Campaign Ad Features Stock Images From Foreign Photographers

"We need to revive the exceptional spirit that built America."

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Ben Carson began his campaign for the presidency on Monday, including posting his first ad on YouTube.

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The over four-minute advertisement titled "Heal Inspire Revive" is composed almost entirely of stock video and images playing while a narrator talks about the current state of American society. Many of the people and groups featured in the ad, however, appear to come from foreign-based photographers who sell their content on websites like Shutterstock.

Political ads frequently use stock images and video. Rand Paul's website briefly used stock images taken by a German-based photographer on a map showing endorsements for his presidential campaign.

In addition, work from Italian and Polish photographers was featured in an advertisement created by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's "Our American Revival" political action committee.


Carson campaign communications director Doug Watts confirmed to BuzzFeed News that most of the clips were "generally acquired and licensed through Shutterstock."

"Whether or not some clips were taken by U.S. photographers, at US locations or with US models is immaterial to the purpose of the video, which is to articulate some values and tell a story," Watts continued. "We did not and would not mis-identify any person. These are actors and models whose images are used for these purposes. If you find a story in that, fine."

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