Anton Corbijn is the man behind Depeche Mode videos

Today our article is a biography of the photographer and director Anton Corbijn. How did the work with Depeche Mode begin and how did the photographer gain universal recognition? Let's find out!

Anton Corbijn: early years, successful career and work with Depeche Mode

The media is full of headlines about stage stars, their personal lives and the state of their art. But who always remain in the shadow of video cameras and photo cameras when new pictures of musicians are printed in magazines? Those who create visual magic.

This article will talk about the director and photographer Anton Corbijnhe's the one who shoots rock stars in music videos and creates their unique style in each new photo shoot.

Early years and early inspirations

Anton Corbijn
Anton Corbijn

The pastor's son Anton Corbijn, born in the Netherlands, learned from a young age art of photography. According to the director and music video maker himself, his first works were snapshots of some musicians: at concerts Anton constantly took a camera. He first captured musician Herman Brood playing, and from then on he began to establish his career as a photographer.

In the late '70s, Corbijn had already found his style: his black and white the pictures graced the pages of NME on a weekly basis, and in addition, he took pictures of famous personalities: David Bowie, guitarist and lead singer of Led Zeppelin, Joy Divizion, Bjork, Morrissey, Robert De Niro and many others. The video maker gained a great fame working with the band Depeche Modeand also shooting music videos for U2.

David Bowie in a photo by Anton Corbijn
David Bowie in a photo by Anton Corbijn

In addition to photo and video work, Anton has established himself as painter: His first image was a portrait of David Bowie backstage at the movie Elephant Man. He also designed many of the album coversin addition to the already familiar and close in spirit Depeche Mode and U2, Corbijn has created art for Metallica, Bon Jovi, The Rolling Stones, R.E.M. and other famous bands.

The clips interested Corbijn a bit laterhe was a member of the German band Palais Schaumburg and made his debut with the band Propaganda. Then he was noticed by Propaganda and involved in the filming of the video for the composition «Dr. Mabuse». Later fruitful work with other musicians began. In the mid-90s Anton Corbijn shoots a film about the musician Captain Beefheartthe film is a biographical film about Ian Curtis of Joy Division, which he tries his hand at. «Control» was one of his best films.

Anton Corbijn at the present time
Anton Corbijn at the present time

Corbijn also frequently shoots great concerts. He directed the broadcast of Coldplay's concert in Madrid, Spain, and also directed the filming of Depeche Mode's concerts at their Global Spirit Your.

An alliance made in heaven

Members of the band Depeche Mode
Members of the band Depeche Mode

The music video maker became acquainted with the British Depeche Mode in 1981, when he moved from his native Netherlands to Great Britain. Their story began not so smoothly: the photographer had no great love for the synth-pop band.

When the group changed and Martin Gore and Alan Wilder joined, Anton was still refused from working with them, noting that it was more pleasant to do business with groups that interested him. After almost five years, the music video maker agreed to collaborate, and then the music video for the single «A Question of Time». In one interview, the director confessed that he saw then how the fullness of their music combined with the effects he created. It really was incredibly.

Anton told me that energy the band was similar to his own, and then the black and white melancholy music videos and hand-drawn album covers became not only a commercial success, but also special value. It was Corbijn who was able to find common ground with Depeche Mode that still works today.

Depeche Mode in a photo by Anton Corbijn
Depeche Mode in a photo by Anton Corbijn

In Gore's texts, the director noted for himself correlation the group's work was dominated by the theme of faith, and this touched Korbein to the core, as he had spent his entire childhood close to religion. In addition, the photographer thin felt each member, especially frontman Dave Gahan. In photos of the band you can often see how the inner state of the members is conveyed through external factors, whether it is a simple photo with a lot of scratches or their general shot on a dark background. From all the material that Anton collected, after spending almost 40 years hand in hand with the band, a film was born called «Spirits in the Forest», released in 2019.

Depeche Mode on the set of «It’s No Good»
Depeche Mode on the set of «It’s No Good»

Valuable has become attitude musicians to Corbijn. He perfectly understood how dear to the band when, after much bickering, they agreed to the idea of a music video for «Enjoy the Silence».

Corbijn's best clips

Depeche Mode on the set of the «Personal Jesus» music video
Depeche Mode on the set of the «Personal Jesus» music video

Anton has not only filmed the best music videos for many rock bands, but has also developed covers for their singles and albums. Thus, his panache - vintage, black and white, reflecting melancholy and sadness, has found its manifestation not only in numerous celebrity photo shoots. We can recognize Corbijn's style in the covers of Metallica's «Garage Inc.», Brian Ferry's «Taxi», Annie Lennox's «Diva», «Mad Not Mad» by Madness and many others.

The covers have a unique charmas well as the clips Corbijn made. Here are the top 5 the best clips, in which you can see the semantic versatility and singularity of performance.

Never Let Me Down Again

The third music video produced for Depeche Mode and released in 1987. The single brought the band stunning success. It would seem that the entire video sequence, except for the fleeting color first frame, hints at inevitability drowning Dave Gahan in sadness and longing, but the lantern that appears in his hand still gives him and the audience hope for the best.

Personal Jesus

The group's most recognizable and rhythmic composition was released in 1989, and even then it became key for the coming '90s. The peak of Depeche's career was in the late '80s and early '90s, and the prophetic words, repeated as a mantra by Dave in the video, would become anthem of the new decade: "Reach out and touch faith.

Enjoy The Silence 

The pleasure of silence comes to the hero retro clip – the band's frontman, dressed up in royal robes and strolling through the picturesque grounds. Sitting on his blue recliner, the little king reigns all this desolate world in which it seems so lonely. Despite the epochal nature of the clip, it was still not to the liking of the band, and Anton had to try hard to coax stubborn musicians to the idea.

Walking In My Shoes 

In the mid-90s, Depeche Mode's eighth album, «Songs of Faith and Devotion», was released. In the video for one of the best songs, the band together with Anton Corbijn decided to embody sinby introducing Dave. The devil with a red face. Out of focus, he is still the center of all the temptations revolving around him. The song soaked in esotericism and requests not to blame the authors for the image performed in the enchanting video sequence.

It's No Good 

By the end of the '90s, the band got a little irony, and together with Corbijn they created a music video for the song «It’s No Good», in which the members appeared in cartoon The images of a mediocre group. Brilliant costumes, pomposity, and tastelessness are presented here as opposed to true to the Depeches, who never were.

«Control» – debut on the big screen

Sam Riley as Ian Curtis in Anton Corbijn's «Control»
Sam Riley as Ian Curtis in Anton Corbijn's «Control»

In 2007, Anton Corbijn debuted with their first feature film about the life of Joy Division vocalist Ian Curtis. At the height of the band's popularity, its members constantly were caught in Anton's lens, and in the mid-'00s became the heroes of his film.

The plot of «Control» was based on a book by Curtis's ex-wife Deborah, and the film managed to reflect way of life of the somber vocalist: from the time he met his wife to his death. A great deal of attention is paid to fight Ian with epilepsy: he desperately tries to keep control of his life and his disease, but he loses in the end.

A still from the movie «Control»
A still from the movie «Control»

Most critics and audiences noted the film's appeal: the noir picture and the combination of musical and biographical elements made «Control» unusual and atmosphericas all of Corbijn's work.

In three years, the director and photographer will present a thriller «American» starring George Clooney. The film was commercially successful, and critics praised it for its beauty and emotional restraint, despite some inconsistency.

«The Most Dangerous Man» was released in 2014 and is based on a novel by John le Carré. The film, like the book, deals with the theme of war with terrorbased on the real story of Murat Kurnaz.

What was left out of the picture

Depeche Mode by Anton Corbijn
Depeche Mode by Anton Corbijn

Anton Corbijn always was hiding Behind the camera on the set or behind the lens of a camera, but it was still possible to learn a little more about the artist. Corbijn's prototype served as the author's William Gibson inspiration, and one of the characters in «Spook Country» was endowed by the author with outward features of the famous clipmaker.

Anton Corbijn as Director
Anton Corbijn as Director

Corbijn was not only inspired by writers. In 2009. Josh Whiteman produced the documentary «Shadow Play – The making of Anton Corbijn», with Anton as the central character. Inspired by the image of the legendary creator, Whiteman and Gibson were able to infiltrate to where Corbijn was hiding all the time - behind that «frame».

David Gilmore: a genius whose craftsmanship goes beyond Pink Floyd

David Gilmore: career before and after Pink Floyd, solo work, biography This was before Pink Floyd. Passionate about music since childhood, in the '60s David Gilmore is...

Zakk Wylde: more than Osborne's guitarist

Guitarist Zakk Wylde: biography, art, collaborations with musicians Zakk Wilde became famous for his work with Prince of Darkness, but his influence and legacy extend beyond that...

"Unconventional" domestic rock bands that are not ashamed of

The most unusual Russian rock bands: list, photos, hits and facts Despite the fact that many listeners do not take Russian rock seriously, saying - too much...

Seven powerful Depeche Mode tracks that are impossible to ignore

Top powerful Depeche Mode songs that have become classics of their genre Depeche Mode - the band that the whole world fell in love with! Or nearly the whole... So...

Sergei Polunin's tattoo with Putin was covered up in Anton Corbijn's new video for the Depeche Mode song "In Your Room" (1994)

Ballet dancer Sergei Polunin became the protagonist of the video for the Depeche Mode song "In Your Room" "In Your Room" is a famous Depeche Mode song released in...

Depeche Mode inducted into Rock Hall 2020 (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

Depeche Mode was inducted into Rock Hall 2020 (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2020) Synthpop legends Depeche Mode were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the evening of 7...

Hits of 1984

A selection of the main hits of 1984 The eighties of the last century were marked by a number of important events in popular culture ... First of all, it affected the cinema: the era of New Hollywood was shifted ...

The main clips of the 80s! Part 2

10 bright music videos, originally from the 80s. Part 2 We continue our selection of the most vivid, memorable and simply beloved clips that will forever remain a colorful personification of the departed ...

The best clips of Depeche Mode (Depeche Mode). Top 13

Top 13 best clips Depeche Mode... Depeche Mode (Depeche Mode) conquered millions of listeners around the world with their spellbinding tracks, and not only. Clips of the group can reasonably be...

Depeche Mode (Depeche Mode) - Personal Jesus (1989)

The Story of the Song "Personal Jesus" (1989) In the mid-1980s, Priscilla Presley, the former wife of the "King of Rock and Roll," releases a biography, Elvis and Me. In the book, one of the main ...

Depeche Mode - Enjoy The Silence

Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode): : the story of a beautiful song This song is mesmerizing, plunging the listener into a completely different space... "Enjoy The Silence" is justifiably called a great song....

Spirits In The Forest (2019) - Anton Corbijn's film about Depeche Mode

Spirits In The Forest (2019): 6 lives under a star named Depeche Mode
Featured Articles

David Gilmore: a genius whose craftsmanship goes beyond Pink Floyd

David Gilmore: career before and after Pink Floyd, solo work, biography This was before Pink Floyd. Passionate about music since childhood, in the '60s David Gilmore is...

Zakk Wylde: more than Osborne's guitarist

Guitarist Zakk Wylde: biography, art, collaborations with musicians Zakk Wilde became famous for his work with Prince of Darkness, but his influence and legacy extend beyond that...

The classics have taken on new colors: a stunning performance of "Dance of the Knights" on the piano

Sergei Prokofiev's "Dance of the Knights": performance on the "Main Stage" show, other unusual covers In today's world, classical music is losing its former popularity. In many ways, this is happening...

The Small Faces: the forgotten band of the '60s, which was the main rival of The Who and the Kinks

The Small Faces: Creation, Success and Disintegration The bands of the new wave of music of the early and mid-60s often underwent various changes throughout their work....

Denis Matsuev, one of today's most popular virtuoso pianists

Denis Matsuev - contemporary Russian pianist - virtuoso Denis Matsuev is a famous Russian pianist, winner of prestigious prizes and awards of the world level, who has become one of...

Interview with musicians: Taras Gusarov

Taras Gusarov: biography, path to success and thoughts on future work We haven't talked much about the relationship between classical music and contemporary music of different genres. И...

Brian May and Roger Taylor before Queen: what it was like

Queen: introduction of the band members and the beginning of the band's history The history of the creation of each musical group is unique. It often happens that the brightest and most significant members come to...

The lyricism of Depeche Mode: What Dave Gahan is really singing about

Depeche Mode: the lyrical meaning of popular songs In the late '80s and early '90s, Depeche Mode was a band that combined pop music and alternative rock. Their...

The unsurpassed Rishad Shafi - recalling the leader of the jazz-rock band Gunesh

Drummer Rishad Shafi's Biography: Early Years, Gunesh Band, Influence and Legacy Soviet music by its nature was very multifaceted. It gave the world Russian rock, the genre...