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Anton Johannes Gerrit Corbijn van Willenswaard (born 20 May 1955) is a Dutch photographer, graphic designer, album cover designer and film director, best known for his close association with rock artists, for whom he has become one of the most famous in his field. His work has been featured in magazines like Oor, Rolling Stone, New Musical Express,... and won many prizes over the years. It has been exhibited in art galleries and the man himself was also subject of a 2012 documentary.

When you are a rock fan, you've probably been exposed to his work more often than you would expect. Many iconic photos of Herman Brood, Joy Division, U2, Miles Davis, Captain Beefheart, Bruce Springsteen, Björk, Elvis Costello, Simple Minds, The Rolling Stones, R.E.M., The Killers, Metallica, Nick Cave, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cramps, and other bands that you're familiar with were taken by him. He also directed many famous music videos, including "Pride" and "One" (U2), "Heartshaped Box" (Nirvana), "Atmosphere" (Joy Division), "Headhunter" (Front242), "Personal Jesus" (Depeche Mode) and designed the cover art of albums such as Automatic For The People by R.E.M. and The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby by U2.

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Since the 1990s Corbijn has also become notable as a film director, with Control (2007), a Biopic about Ian Curtis from Joy Division as his most well known picture.

Album cover designs

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Music videos

  • Bryan Adams: "Do I Have To Say The Words", "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?"
  • Arcade Fire: "Reflektor"
  • Joseph Arthur: "Chemical", "In The Sun"
  • Art Of Noise: "Beat Box"
  • At The Drive In: "Invalid Litter Dept."
  • Banderas: "May This Be Your Last Sorrow".
  • Johnny Cash: "Delia's Gone" (from "The American Recordings")
  • Naomi Campbell: "Love & Tears"
  • Nick Cave: "Straight To You".
  • Coldplay: "Talk", "Viva La Vida"
  • Danzig: "Dirty Black Summer".
  • Depeche Mode: "A Question Of Time", "Strangelove", "Pimpf", "Never Let Me Down Again", "Behind The Wheel", "Personal Jesus", "Enjoy the Silence", "Policy of Truth", "World In My Eyes", "Clean", "Halo", "I Feel You", "Walking In My Shoes", "Condemnation", "In Your Room", "Barrel Of A Gun", "It's No Good", "Useless", "Freelove", "Should Be Higher", "Where's The Revolution".
  • Echo & the Bunnymen: "Seven Seas", "Bring On The Dancing Horses", "Bedbugs and Ballyhoo", "Lips Like Sugar", "The Game", "Strangelove"
  • Front 242: "Welcome To Paradise", "Headhunter", Tragedy For You"
  • Golden Earring: "Quiet Eyes"
  • Herbert Grönemeyer: "Marie", "Bleibt Alles Anders", "Fanatisch", "Zum Meer"
  • Garland Jeffreys: "Hail Hail Rock 'N' Roll"
  • Joy Division: "Atmosphere".
  • The Killers: "All These Things That I've Done"
  • Ian McCulloch: "Faith And Healing", "Lover Lover Lover".
  • Mercury Rev: "Goddess On A Hiway", "Opus 40"
  • Metallica: "Hero of the Day", "Mama Said"
  • Joni Mitchell and Peter Gabriel: "My Secret Place".
  • Nirvana: "Heart-Shaped Box" (from In Utero)
  • Palais Schaumburg: "Hockey".
  • Per Gessle: "En händig man"
  • Propaganda: "Dr. Mabuse".
  • Rainbirds: "Blueprint", "Sea Of Time", "White City Of Light", "Two Faces"
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers: "My Friends"
  • Rollins Band: "Liar"
  • Roxette: "Stars", "Salvation"
  • David Sylvian: "Red Guitar", "The Ink In the Well" (from "Brilliant Trees")
  • Travis: "Re-Offender".
  • U2: "Pride", "One", "Please"

Films

Tropes associated with Anton Corbijn's work

  • Celebrity Cameo: When you look at books devoted to his art you see a veritable who is who? of rock stars who emerged since the 1970s until now.
  • Crossing the Desert: He seems to have a fascination with the Mojave Desert in California and Death Valley in Utah, as he both shot the covers of Ice Cream for Crow, The Joshua Tree and the film "Some Yo Yo Stuff" there.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: All his photographs are in black-and-white. Control was shot in this color too.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: His photographs are striking images that show his subjects both as cool rockstars, but as normal human beings as well.
  • Le Film Artistique: "Some Yo-Yo Stuff", where Captain Beefheart is interviewed in black-and-white imagery, while light and shadows pass by and the questions are written on a film projector. Also features shots of the Mojave Desert, a clip where a fish is seen travelling across the desert (shot while being held to a car window) and even a cameo of David Lynch.
  • The Film of the Song: Linear (2009), a 58-minute film, is effectively "The Film of the Album" of U2's No Line on the Horizon (2009), featuring 10 of the 11 songs from the album and one other song that was cut from the final album. Corbijn has insisted that the film is not an extended music video, but rather "a new way to listen to a record — a new way to use film to connect to music," making it an example of this.
  • Notable Music Videos: See the above list.
  • Odd Friendship: Corbijn was good friends with the normally Reclusive Artist Captain Beefheart, an honor he only shared with Beefheart's other friends PJ Harvey and John Peel. In 1993 Corbijn made the first documentary about Beefheart: "Some Yo-Yo Stuff", a 13-minute black-and-white short film where Vliet is interviewed about various topics, while Corbijn provides artistically interesting shadow work and shots of the Mojave Desert.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Despite being best known for photographing rock artists Corbijn's design for R.E.M.'s Automatic For The People is a more abstract design. His later films, from The American on, have nothing whatsoever to do with rock stars at all.
  • Rock: Best known for photographing rock stars and bands, though he has also photographed people from outside that genre, such as authors John le Carré, Marlene Dumas, Gore Vidal and Remco Campert, opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, cyclist Lance Armstrong, photo models Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, activist Nelson Mandela, painters Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Gilbert & George, Anselm Kiefer, Lucian Freud, Karel Appel and Luc Tuymans and actors Sean Penn, Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro and Johnny Depp.
  • Self-Deprecation: Corbijn has made a series of self-portraits over the years, where he dresses himself up as famous rock stars, including Bruce Springsteen, Frank Zappa, John Lennon, Bob Marley,... It's clearly done as a joke, because he looks absolutely ridiculous.
  • Series Fauxnale: "In Your Room" was filled with call backs to Anton's earlier videos with Depeche Mode, because he believed at the time that Dave Gahan was going to die of a heroin overdose before they got a chance to make another album. Thankfully despite a near miss, Dave is now alive and clean of drugs.
  • Signature Style: Deliberately Monochrome in his photos and music videos, along with fast film grain. Many of his Depeche Mode videos feature desert imagery.
  • Skull for a Head: In 2011 he made a portrait of painter Damien Hirst where his eyes and teeth have the appearance of a skull.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Several photo's show badass smoker poses of artists like Bono, John Hiatt, Ian Curtis, Keith Richards, Nick Cave,...
  • Warts and All: Corbijn doesn't shy away from showing wrinkles, pores and other signs of old age in the faces and bodies of the rock artists he photographs.
  • Wholesome Cross Dresser: In 1996 he photographed Mick Jagger in drag.

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