Did Ray-Ban rip Stanley Cup “riot kissing couple” photo?

I’m a firm believer that most art, and creative ideas, have been done before, to some extent — i.e. even if one has never seen it, it’s likely something similar is floating around in this big bizarro world of ours.

That said, I can’t help but think Ray-Ban’s new ad, which features a couple kissing passionately amid a violent riot, is directly influenced by Rich Lam’s iconic “riot kissing couple” image from last year.

Lam’s photo of Scott Jones comforting his girlfriend Alexandra Thomas, who had been knocked down by riot police during the June 15, 2011, Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver, garnered international attention — as did the couple — and was named by numerous organizations as one of the top photos of the year. It’s pretty much impossible NOT to know about the image. Disclosure: Lam is a good friend, yaddy yadda.

Lam’s only gripe is that he didn’t get free shades. “I bet that photog got a pair!!!!!”


UPDATE: Tara Foslien tells me the photo is being used in a sweater ad in Italy. Yeesh.

Bonus: Lam offered some sage advice in a signed copy of the photo:


  1. That’s great stuff. I think the picture is undoubtedly a take-ff of the first. I like very much about what you said about how all art has been done before. That has been playin’ in my head lately. I am always tryin’ tuh come up with something different, maybe unique, not sure I ever succeed. There was a great article goin’ around the Internet maybe a year ago–“Steal Like an Artist.” Main idea of the thing is that there is no such thing as original art. Everybody is stealing from everybody, then I think the idea is that you are not supposed to get caught. Somethin’ like that. Thanks for your thoughts.
    Tim Ruane
    Oh Yeah: I was a copy editor at The Washington Post for a couple decades. Enjoy your journalism career.

  2. While nothing may be truly ‘original’, I think how you deploy or play with the original can be done in a unique and creative way. In other words “original” is not necessarily a byword for good art, and being directly inspired by something is not necessarily bad.

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