Bono, Miami 1996 © Anton Corbijn
I call this the Bono Batman photo as he is wearing a batman neck chain and I do need to give photos of him a name as it is too confusing with so many photos of him in my files. He is the person I photographed more than anyone I can think of. This shot was taken during the shoot for ‘POP’ which was all done in Miami, both in- and outdoors. The background is just a wall painting I found driving around, which is always a good thing: walking and driving in new places to find what you can use for a photograph. I enjoy the heavy look in this photo even though a cigarette is such a cliche and I am a non-smoker, it does make the photograph stronger as it is emphasizing the bad-ass aspect of the shot – Anton Corbijn
In Corbijn’s high contrast images, his subjects appear distracted, caught in quiet moments, solemn, smiling perhaps but detached from their celebrity status. Given the choice, Corbijn would almost always shoot a subject outside of a studio in available light, even if it’s against a plain white wall.
I’m a very, very basic photographer. The main strength of my pictures, I guess, is the mood and feel I get out of the people that I meet. But technically I don’t think I’m very advanced. That never interested me.”
My biggest fear always is that I’ll photograph an idea rather than a person. So I try to be quite sensitive to how people are.” – Anton Corbijn
I happen to take photographs and they happen to be used for a lot of things but they’re not really made to order. They’re paid for, but they’re not made for order. I’ve never really done real commercial work. A lot of people think I photograph celebrities. But I usually photograph people whose work I like, artists. Some of them are very well known, some of them are not. And of course there’s all these bands that want me to photograph them but it’s such a cliche for me now I’m very reluctant to do bands now. I tend to work with the bands I know. -Anton Corbijn
The beginning: I stumbled by accident onto photography by borrowing my father’s camera …
…. and taking it to a concert in 1972 to give myself an excuse to go closer to the stage. I then took a few photos and got them developed and printed at the local camera store and send the photos to a music magazine as I thought they looked rather good (we are talking ’good’ as seen thru the eyes of a 17 year old) and they were subsequently published.
That gave me such a boost that I went on to shoot a few more local concerts and I got addicted to the camera that way and started to love photography which really was an art form I knew nothing about whatsoever. So no-one inspired me in that sense, it just happened. After a good year of going with my father’s camera to concerts, I managed to buy my own camera and I got more interested to see what other photography was out there and I really liked the b/w photographers like Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, W.Eugene Smith etc. I later looked at other music photographers and I liked people like Elliott Landy, Jim Marshall, David Gahr, etc.
There are a lot of great technical photographers around but I tend to drift towards people who express something in their work more than those who are craftsmen. There are many people whose work I follow, like Cindy Sherman, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Hellen Van Meene, Rineke Dijkstra and so on. -from U2 France interview with Anton Corbijn