ANTON CORBEIN – THE MOST ROCKY PHOTOGRAPHY OF MODERNITY
“I shot everyone,” A. Corbain
Anton Corbijn was born in a Dutch province in 1955. His father was a priest of the Protestant church, and his mother was a nurse. Anton’s childhood passed in a small village. As a teenager, he becomes interested in photography. Corbain attended concerts and took the first pictures there, which he sold to local publications. Then he did not know what exactly the photos of the musicians would make him famous. The first significant mark in the career of the future photographer can be called a collaboration with the Dutch magazine Oor. Absolute self-taught managed to make interesting and deep shots. The obvious talent of the guy was torn out. In 1979, Arthur left his homeland and moved to London.
Great Britain attracted Corbane not only with new development opportunities. His area of interest includes music. Anton holds a unique photo shoot for Joy Division, the cult group of British post-punk. Less than a year after this, group leader Ian Curtis died. He hanged himself at the age of 23. Looking ahead, it is important to note that Corbane was a true fan of the “division”. In 1988, he shot a video for the song Atmosphere, and in 2007 he made his debut in full-length cinema with the film “Control”, which tells about the last years of Curtis’s life. Anton’s clip and film are black and white, as are the vast majority of his photographs.
The success of musical groups provoked the success of the photographer who shot them. Magazines gladly bought photos made by Anton. In 1980, Corbain became a full-time photographer for the New Musical Express weekly, conducting photo shoots with celebrities of the time.
Anton has earned a reputation as an amazing artist, free from stereotypes. In 1983, the love of music made a new round in his career. Corbain tries his hand at creating video clips. Subsequently, this activity will bring him worldwide fame and the title of icon-maker. He managed to shoot more than 50 music videos, some of which were fantastic in popularity. Work with rockers was not limited to video shooting. Many famous photographs of iconic musicians were made by Anton Corbein.
The legendary soloist of the Nirvana grunge band Kurt Cobain believed that the Anton Shaped Heart Shaped Box music video was the best. Unfortunately, they did not succeed in working together anymore: the photographer believed that he would not succeed in surpassing himself and shooting better, and the frontman completely committed suicide. This final event in Kurt’s biography further united him with Ian Curtis, whom Anton adored.
Corbein’s work with British alternative artists Depeche Mode has become the most ambitious and fruitful, both for the photographer and for musicians. Soloist Dave Gahan has repeatedly mentioned that Corbane has long taken the place of a full-fledged member of the group, which they are all sincerely happy about. Their creative union lasted more than 30 years.
In addition to clips and beautiful photo shoots, Anton was involved in the design of album covers and set design. There was a time when Corbane toured with the band and even once replaced a sick drummer while recording television.
The photographer had no less close relations with the legendary U2 Irish. The collaboration between Corbein and the musicians began in 1984 and does not end to this day. Bono, the band’s frontman, believes that Anton manages to “take a picture of the song,” and not just the people who perform it.
Anton had a chance to work with The Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, Metallica, Roxette, The Killers, R.E.M. Coldplay and other rock bands that went down in music history. John Bon Jovi, Tony Kiedis, Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits – the great rockers who fell into the sight of Corbane’s camera can be listed for a long time to come. Thanks to this, the label of a world-famous rock photographer was firmly entrenched in him. However, the maestro himself does not like such definitions. It fetters, and real artists do not tolerate the slightest restrictions.
It is impossible to deny the inextricable connection of Corbain’s work with the world of rock music. During photo exhibitions Anton complements the exposition with musical accompaniment, live or in recording. Photos, at first glance, are placed randomly, without following the chronology. Corbane gives each of his characters a space where yesterday’s pictures are confused with those taken 20-30 years ago. The viewer does not have to watch how his idol ages, on the contrary, he plunges into his life, not noticing the years that have passed. Pencil signatures made by the author’s hand directly on the wall add intimacy to the atmosphere of the exhibition.
In addition to figures from the music industry, actors, directors, artists, and writers got into the lens of Anton’s camera. Corbain is able to win over the people he wants to film. And here, not only his professional reputation plays a role, but also the ability to work quickly, easily, intuitively. He often shoots on his own, without a team of lights and assistants, using only a small camera.