Declaring my devotion to Anton Corbijn.
Pop culture is a fickle, ever-changing beast. Artists and styles pass us by without us noticing – but I’m a firm believer that along the way something will stick with you for the rest of your life. It might be your favourite album image, or a style of music or maybe a certain film. In my case I love music and film and Anton Corbijn’s photography has been there every step of the way.
One of the first albums that I ever bought was Depeche Mode’s Violator. A small group of friends and I had seen the video for Enjoy The Silence on MTV and instantly became hooked. The sight of a ‘king’ walking through beautiful landscapes (carrying a deckchair of all things) caught our attention as much as the pulsing electonica. The video was intercut with contrasting black and white shots of the band and a unique rose. This was echoed on the album cover and we had to have it. This band subsequently became something of an obsession.
Of course my musical tastes broadened and I became interested in the likes of Metallica, U2, REM, Morrissey and more. I loved looking through the album covers and absorbing the photography and graphic design ideas. To my surprise Anton’s photography was featured in so many of the inlays. His grainy, black and white photography jumped out at me. His style became instantly recognisable and it seems he was very much in demand throughout the 90s. I could spot his work a mile away and the geek inside me loved informing people when I saw it (sorry friends and family). His movie star portraits jumped from magazine racks and Henry Rollins screamed at me from the cover of Creative Review.
Was Anton chasing me? He was even there when going to see music concerts. His photography and graphic design work jumped from behind Dave Gahan during Depeche Mode’s Devotional concerts (and subsequent tours). He had taken creative control.
Anton has since moved into feature length movies – directing the superb Joy Division biopic Control and George Clooney vehicle The American – but it’s his photography that I’ll love forever more. Songs bring fond memories and (with me at least) so does Anton’s photography. Seeing a certain Corbijn image instantly transports me to a specific time and place and I’m glad that it does.