Corbijn dares to challenge the rich and famous
Anton Corbijn recently had a exhibition at Fotografiska in Stockholm. I’m a great fan of Corbijns work. I really enjoy his artistic approach. And that he dare to challenge the artists image and expression. Not too many gets away with putting on a silly hat on Keith Richards, dress out U2 to a bunch of stoned women or turn Metallica in to robbers! It takes a long time to build up that kind of trust. All respect to Anton for that.
What I mostly enjoyed with this exhibition is that it was a great variation of photographs and people. And that it wasn’t a “best of”-showing. All photos weren’t great. But that was okay, like a paus between the outstanding work. I also enjoy that most work are in black and white and all of a sudden pops up a colorful odd photo. Like surprise Jack in the Box. Corbijn is a master of contrasts and brilliant photographer of taking crappy pictures. Like most photographers today it’s so much about perfection that it kind of loses it’s soul. Anton got soul!
If you where there I’d love to hear your thoughts about the exhibition.
Exhibition grade: PPPP
As a comment stated that most photos of women is either nude or more or less without clothing. Which is kind of a cliché and dated way of portraying a woman. I can think of a numerous ways of getting exciting photos with something on. This definitely brings down the grade of the exhibition. The weirdness could also been taken a step or two. But still a wonderful exhibition. Corbijn is always Corbijn.
“The Rock Photographer”
Anton Corbijn (b. 1955, Strijen, Netherlands) has, since the middle of the 70s, carved out a unique position for himself in the history of photographic portraiture. With his distinct visual style, curiosity and passion for art and music, his influence on the visual expression and identity of several of the world’s greatest rock bands and musicians has been immeasurable. With their contrasting interfusion of light and shade, tenderness and hardness, ans a sense of imperfection, Corbijn’s photographs are a far cry from the polished portraits that dominate popular culture. Often erroneously labelled a rock photographer, Anton Corbijn has famously portrayed a great number of painters, writers, actors, directors and other people who impressed him. However, it is his unparalleled portrayal of and relationship in out contemporary age and this exhibition is a celebration of the unique position he holds in that world.
The power of camera
Regarding himself as a portrait photographer, his passion for photography was aroused through music, which, during his conservative and religious upbringing, provided him with a sense of freedom and became the key to a world of likeminded people. The young, shy Anton Corbijn discovered that the camera allowed him to approach musicians and gain access to a world that he wanted to be part of. After moving to London in 1979, Corbijn became the main photograper for the New Musical Express, at the time arguably the most important weekly music magazine in the world. He portrayed many of the greatest musicians and debutants of the time for NME. Some of these meetings resulted in collaborations that came to stretch over several years. In contrast to his photographic predecessors who usually depicted musicans just as they were. Corbijn turned himself into a creator who translated their musical vision into images in a way that was congenial to the music and its visual aspects. In his hands, many rock bands received a new identity that came to define their public image. That Corbijn has been described as the invisible member of both Depeche Mode and U2, with whom he has collaborated for over three decades, bears testimony to the important role he has played in their careers.
For this exhibition titled 1-2-3-4 (like the countdown to a song) Corbijn selected images he re-discovered after going thru his entire back catalogue of contact sheets to present some 400 photographs spannning the mid 1970s to the mid 2000s, specifically but not exclusively, highlighting 12 of the bands and artist he has collaborated most intimately with. Consciously he has chosen not to make this a ‘best of’ as so many of these portraits have rarely or never been shown. Together they constitute a celebration of profilic career of 40 years and counting.
Text: Pauline Benthede, Exhibition Manager Fotografiska