Corbijn, Anton

Born 20 May 1955 in Strijen (Netherlands). Started working as a photographer in the second part of the 1970’s. He started his work as a photographer by taking his father’s camera to a performance by Dutch local band Solution, and the result ended up in a music paper.
This encouraged him to start photographing more well-known bands like Focus, Herman Brood and Golden Earring. In 1979 he started working for Dutch magazine Oor (“Ear”) Magazine, and managed to get a little time from nearly every star passing by. In this time, he made pictures of people like Sandy Denny, John Martyn, Ry Cooder and even Steely Dan, who used his work for the sleeve of their “Greatest Hits” album in 1979.
Having become very enamoured with the band Joy Division he moved to London, and, astonishing enough, he almost immediately managed to book a asession with the band, which produced the eternal image in the tube corridor, Ian Curtis framed in a ghostly neon.
It was this session that gave him a job at UK’s New Musical Express. He made shots of Bill Haley, Joe Jackson and the Selecter in this time.
He was summoned to Cheyne Walk to photograph Mick and Keith, the latter in such an advanced state of decrepitude that he tipped a tumbler of bourbon into his lap, hence a clearly visible damp patch the size of a dinner plate. Eno followed, and Madness, Stevie Wonder, The Slits, Roy Orbison, Captain Beefheart…
Corbijn tended to photograph people alone, unsmiling, in evocative settings, natural light, no styling, the extreme print contrast suggestive of the private and troubled soul that wrote the songs as opposed to the familiar user-friendly public figure also required to publicise them.
The picture that sealed his reputation worldwide was the one of David Bowie in the dressing room of a Chicago theatre where he was playing The Elephant Man. Not a trace of the usual suave and confident media manipulator, instead a candid glimpse of a sagging spirit, fragile, remote, and wearing a pair of loose and rather Biblical briefs.
Around this time, Anton also shoots a series of pictures of Kim Wilde, which are still used from time to time. He also provides the photography for the sleeves of View From a Bridge and Child Come Away. An official Kim Wilde calendar was produced in 1982 (for the year 1983), featuring 13 of his photographs.
In 1985, a routine NME cover assignment with Depeche Mode sparks off a long and extraordinary liaison. Almost single-handedly, Anton engineered their transition from guileless pop bantamweights to the sombre, slightly depressing combo by designing nearly all their sleeves and tour programs.
Corbijn is perhaps best known for his work with rock band U2. He designed nearly every album they have released so far.

In 2010, he sent a special message to Wilde Life for Kim’s 50th birthday.

hello KIM my dear 50 year young friend, i had a crush on you when we met!!!
shock horror, finally revealed.
happy birthday dear Kim, enjoy the sounds from yourself and from nature.
much love
X Anton C.=