Anton Johannes Gerrit Corbijn van Willenswaard (Dutch pronunciation: born 20 May 1955) is a Dutch photographer, film director and music video director. He is the creative director behind the visual output of Depeche Mode and U2, having handled the principal promotion and sleeve photography for both bands over three decades. Some of his works include music videos for Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" (1990), U2's "One" (version 1) (1991), Bryan Adams' "Do I Have to Say the Words?", Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box" (1993) and Coldplay’s "Talk" (2005) and "Viva la Vida" (2008), as well as the Ian Curtis biographical film Control (2007), The American (2010), A Most Wanted Man (2014), based on John le Carré's 2008 novel of the same name and Life (2015), after the friendship between Life magazine photographer Dennis Stock and James Dean.
Corbijn began his career as a music photographer when he saw the Dutch musician Herman Brood playing in a café in Groningen around 1975. He took a lot of photographs of the band Herman Brood & His Wild Romance and these led to a rise in fame for Brood and in exposure for Corbijn.
Corbijn's official portrait of Beatrix of the Netherlands in 2008
From the late 1970s the London-based New Musical Express (NME), a weekly music paper, featured his work on a regular basis and would often have a photograph by him on the front page. One such occasion was a portrait of David Bowie wearing a loincloth backstage in New York when starring in The Elephant Man. In the early years of London-based The Face, a glossy monthly post-punk life style / music magazine, Corbijn was a regular contributor. He made his name photographing in black-and-white but in May 1989 he began taking pictures in colour using filters. His first venture in this medium was for Siouxsie Sioux. Between 1998–2000, in collaboration with the painter Marlene Dumas, he worked on a project called "Stripping Girls", which took the strip clubs and peep shows of Amsterdam as their subject; while Corbijn later exhibited photographs, Dumas took Polaroids which she then used as sources for her paintings.
Corbijn has photographed Jimmy Page and Robert Plant (formerly of Led Zeppelin), Bob Dylan, Joy Division, Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Prata Vetra, Peter Hammill, Miles Davis, Kate Bush, Björk, Captain Beefheart, Kim Wilde, Marc Almond, Robert De Niro, Stephen Hawking, Elvis Costello, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Morrissey, Peter Murphy, Simple Minds, Clint Eastwood, The Cramps, Roxette, Herbert Grönemeyer, Annie Lennox, and Eurythmics, amongst others. Perhaps his most famous and longest standing associations are with Depeche Mode and U2. Corbijn's work relationship with Depeche Mode began with the filming of a music video for their 1986 single "A Question of Time". Corbijn says that he soon "started to realise that [his] visuals and their music went really well together. Then [he] did some live photos, and it eventually turned into designing the whole live set. That's what [he's] been doing for them since 1993." Corbijn has directed 20 of the bands music videos, the most recent of his works being Depeche Mode's 2023 Ghosts Again. He has also designed most of the covers for Depeche Mode's albums and singles from 1990's Violator album and onwards. Corbijn's work with U2 includes taking pictures of the band on their first US tour, taking pictures for their albums The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby, and directing a number of accompanying videos.
Other album covers featuring work by Corbijn include those for Springsteen, Nick Cave, Siouxsie's second band The Creatures, Bryan Adams, Metallica, Therapy?, The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, The Killers, Simple Minds, R.E.M., The Bee Gees, Saybia, Clannad and Moke.
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