Photography has been a great passion of mine ever since the age of eleven when my father taught me the basics of black and white printmaking in the darkroom he had set up in our bathroom. In design school my photography mentor was one of Sweden’s foremost fine art photographers and printmakers. After graduating in 1982 I started a design studio with a former classmate of mine. We did a lot of design for the music industry. One photographer that stood out in that industry was Anton Corbijn. I fell in love with his way of shooting portraits, especially the black and white work he did. It was really personal and different from other music photographers.
Anton Corbijn was born in the Netherlands in 1955. He started shooting bands at age 17, moved to London in 1979 to be closer to the music he loved and soon forged his signature portrait style which is marked by high contrast black-and-white images stippled with grain.
“Because I like black-and-white,” Corbijn says “I already pass the threshold of realism in that sense. The blurriness and the grain that I use, for me, is close to life. I find things that are very static and very sharp and very well-lit and all that is not how I experience life. And I shoot by hand so I’m open to all kinds of little human failure elements because I don’t like the total perfection.”
Some of his most well known photographs feature: Clint Eastwood, Cameron Diaz, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Naomi Campbell, William Burroughs, Tom Waits, Allen Ginsberg, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Robert De Niro, Gerhard Richter, Ai Weiwei, Lucian Freud, Nirvana, Joni Mitchell, Henry Rollins, Metallica, Depeche Mode, Johnny Cash, U2 and Nick Cave. In addition, Corbijn works as a creative/artistic director for several of the bands such as U2 and Depeche Mode. For many years he has regularly directed their music videos and designed their CD and record covers.
He has made more than 80 music videos, directed four feature films including “A Most Wanted Man”, which is based on the novel by John Le Carré and features the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, published 18 books and had many gallery and museum exhibitions.
“I don’t have lights, I don’t have assistants, I just go and meet somebody and take a photograph. That’s really basic, and that’s how I used to work when I was 17 or 18 in Holland.”