The Dutch photographer, filmmaker, graphic designer, and video artist is renowned for his black and white portraits of well-known creatives and musicians. Corbijn shoots with a slow shutter speed to capture gestures and movement in a unique style of photography that gives a raw edge to his subjects capturing both imperfection and personality. Starting in the late 20th century, his style of producing black and white photos using grainy film became an important part of our visual culture and is a technique that has been widely utilised since.
Corbijn began his career as a photographer of music in the early 70’s shooting local bands in his teenage years in the Netherlands before moving to London in 1979 to work for the British music magazine the New Musical Express (NME) as their staff photographer. He then shifted into capturing a wide range of creatives for other publications such as Rolling Stone, SPIN, Vogue and for record sleeves, and was initially a regular contributor to cult magazine The Face. He made a swift move into making music videos as early as 1983 and has directed over 80 videos since with a number of musicians including Nirvana, Johnny Cash, Coldplay, Joy Division, U2 and Depeche Mode - the latter two being amongst his longest standing collaborations with their working relationships going back nearly 40 years. Corbijn moved later into directing feature films, his first movie being Control (2007). He then went on to direct major titles including The American (2010) starring George Clooney and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last film A Most Wanted Man (2014).
‘It’s true, I have worked across Fashion, Art, and Music, and there are a lot of things that maybe the public aren’t aware of… I’ve never really pushed the PR side, so it’s only friends of mine that often know the extent of work that I have done.
I was always very defensive about a lot of things… about the people I shot, the story behind the image… I want people to discover it themselves, and not to give away all the stories about the photographs. People want to know too much. The beauty with photography is that you, as a viewer, project your own thoughts onto a picture, make your own story, and you can’t if you know the exact story.’- Anton Corbijn