Rihanna Rips Off Grunge Artist Sandy Kim

Rihanna caught up (yet again) in plagiarism scandal: this time it’s her video for ‘We Found Love’ with blatant parallels to the work of Sandy Kim

Rihanna’s video for her hit single ‘We Found Love’ has been accused of plagiarising the heroin-chic work of artist-photographer Sandy Kim. The whistle-blower is FADER contributor Bryan Derballa, who describes how, ‘when a friend played me Rihanna’s video for that infectious song “We Found Love”, I thought it looked really familiar. It’s Sandy Kim’s blog! There are so many thematic and aesthetic similarities’.

Sandy Kim is currently the favourite artist of photographer Ryan McGinley – one of the youngest artists to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and named Photographer of 2003 by American Photo Magazine: ‘Sandy is a confessional photographer with a thing for body fluids. … Sometimes it’s hardcore … and sometimes it’s pure beauty. She often photographs cute long-haired nude or near-nude boys lying on dirty couches in classical repose. … She really knows how to use natural light, like early morning light, or sunset light in an apartment. She pays attention to it and that’s always the sign of a good photographer, knowing when and how to use that light.’

This is not the first time that one of Rihanna’s videos has been accused of ripping off other artists. Her music video for her hit single S&M sported imagery blatantly lifted from the work of famed photographer David LaChapelle. Accusations of plagiarism came from all sides, with one scene depicting Rihanna ‘walking’ a man on a leash and on all fours corresponding to LaChapelle 2002 image for Vogue, Aristocrats. Indeed, the similarities were so great that fans of the photographer were initially concluded that LaChapelle had in fact directed the video.

But, given that she was subsequently sued by two separate photographers claiming she or co-director Melina Matsoukas ripped off their imagery, there is surely some ambiguity as to any claim to originality within the glitzy sphere of show biz… 

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