Where It’s Due

There’s a mystery afoot.

I spent most of yesterday photographing Peace Corps Tanzania’s Swearing-In ceremony for the Education class of 2015 at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam. It was a nice ceremony, even though I’ve been to a few, and I enjoyed it. Sure we were outside and the sun was equatorially bright, but there were tents and the speeches were good and the promise of food at the end kept us all happy. To their credit, the usually painful music performance by the Trainees was actually really good. And during it, I got a some pretty good shots of one the them playing guitar in the foreground, while the rest sang and danced behind. There were a couple that were middling, but definitely a couple that were mad decent.

After the ceremony, as I was pretending to just now notice the heaping trays of sambusas for the third or fourth time and help myself, one of the public relations folks from the embassy, who I’ve met and is a terribly nice guy, hit me up for the SD card from my camera, so he could grab a photo for the press release. I obliged, naturally, but was slightly perturbed that he didn’t get my name while he was at it…

Today, a picture I’m 90% sure is mine appeared in an article about the ceremony published by the Daily News, an English language daily here in Tanzania. It was credited to “Our Staff Photographer.” I checked the U.S. Embassy Tanzania’s press release page, and their press release on the event features the same picture, this time credited to “U.S. Embassy, Dar es Salaam.”

Did I mention that the Embassy currently doesn’t have an official photographer? Or that I didn’t see any Tanzanian reporters taking pictures from my exact same vantage during the performance? Of course not…

I’m home from work now and naturally, said SD card is at the office. The pictures aren’t on my personal computer to double check, but rest assured, it’s the first thing I’m doing tomorrow. I honestly don’t know what my play is in this situation—because I just handed my photos over, did I waive all rights to a credit? Because I’m—in a very broad sense—part of the U.S. mission in Tanzania, can I even claim credit? I’d at least like a shout out, you know? The picture isn’t the one I would’ve chosen, but it did get published. I’m tryna get a job when I got back home in a couple months, you bet I’m counting everything!

Please note that If I’m wrong about the picture, or in the wrong about getting credited for it, I apologize in advance. That’s my mistake and I truly don’t know the rules here. But I feel like getting to the bottom of it, because it’s definitely not sitting well with me. I’ll definitely post an update tomorrow.

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