To reference famous work is homage, but to pilfer from an unknown debutant artist is just plain wrong…
Claims that Rihanna and her director Melina Matsoukas plagiarised the work of photographer David LaChapelle should be taken with a pinch of salt, as I have previously argued.
Even with “insider” claims that the pair had LaChapelle’s Vogue Italia pictures strewn around the video shoot, the resulting work is sufficiently different to the photographic source to hint at a little free thought in the video’s concepts.
The plagiarism claims have died down over the past few days, with a spat between RiRi and BBC Radio One over S&M’s censorship and renaming – to ‘Come On’ – taking headlines.
But further allegations brought to my attention and first reported by KOvideo suggest that parts of Rihanna’s S&M video have indeed been copied.
According to an unnamed source, a young German photographer claims to have come up with the idea and images used in the opening shots of Rihanna’s video in August 2010. 19-year-old unknown Philip Paulus claims his fashion editorial ‘PAPERWORLD’ has been wholly copied by Rihanna and Matsoukas with no respect for the photographer’s copyright.
The work in question shows a model cellophaned to a wall in a long dress, replete with taped black crosses either side of her person. The photographer’s website opens with the damning image that bears more than a passing resemblance to this post’s Rihanna pic.
“But couldn’t this have been photographed after the event?” I hear you ask. It could, but videos posted in August 2010 on both Youtube and Vimeo (below) show the young German photographer cataloguing the day’s shoot, lending an air of authenticity to his claims.
If true, then these fresh claims reveal an international superstar stealing the hard work of a young artist. For me, that is far more distasteful than the lewd images and raunchy lyrics that are grabbing everyone’s attention…