Saturday, 9 June 2007

Anton Corbijn on Anton Corbijn

I've just watched a documentary on Dutch TV about Anton Corbijn, photographer to the rock music world. I'd not heard of him before (shame on me, really) but have seen many of his images. Pretty much anyone who's made popular music in the last 25 years, and many more besides, has had their photo taken by him.

I like the gritty, grainy style he has and the way it draws interesting character from his subjects.

He had some interesting things to say, too (I paraphrase in translation here):

On technique: my technique is quite sloppy and that results in a lot of out of focus ("unsharp" as it is in Dutch) areas. I don't think this detracts from the overall quality of the image, the composition, the subject.

On light: I like the light at the end of the day just before it gets dark. The contrast is even and the scene flat which leads to interesting and strong composition.

On celebrity: I like to photograph beauty but not in the traditional, glamorous sense of celebrity. I like to draw on the beauty of character, ideas, personality.

On fame: I used to think of myself as a sort of underground photographer, away from the mainstream. Now I have become the mainstream but I hope that doesn't mean I've lost the inherent qualities of the image that I had before.

Looking at the woks presented in the programme and a quick search on his images I must say it is one of the strongest styles of "people photography" I think I've ever seen. Well worth checking him out.

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