Photography News Issue 24 absolutephoto.com
However Corbijn is not against digital in his workflow. “I love the possibilities that digital photography gives me post- capture. I shoot on film and use digital for post-production and printing. It’s the best of both worlds,” he says. In fact, digital manipulation has enabled Corbijn to recover pictures he thought were lost. “Going through my archive for the exhibition, there were negatives that were so badly under or overexposed that I wasn’t able to make a print from them originally. But scans have givenme information in these images that I couldn’t see before, and I can use that to make a print.” Going through his archive while curating the show was a mammoth task. “I went through 25,000 contact sheets,” he recalls. “Sometimes you look at pictures and you think ‘what was I doing?’ but other times you find a picture you’ve forgotten about and you think ‘wow! I love that.’ “So many years down the line you look at your work differently, because it’s lost its need for immediacy. ” Alongside this career in stills, Corbijn has won huge praise for his music videos. He’s worked with names such as Nirvana and Johnny Cash, as well as his regulars like U2 and Depeche Mode. In more recent years it’s also led him into directing feature films: Control , The American and AMost Wanted Man have all won considerable acclaim. And for Corbijn, feature films are where his attention is right now. “I’mnot putting down photography, because it’s my big love, and I will always take pictures, but the focus at the moment is very much on films,” he says. “They are demanding in terms of energy and time and I can’t pursue stills photography to the same level I have in previous years. So it has to take a bit of a back seat. The exhibition is kind of a goodbye to that involvement in photography – for now.” The next Corbijn-directed film scheduled for release is Life , which looks at the photographer Dennis Stock and his images of James Dean. Looking back over Corbijn’s career so far, it’s impossible not to be impressed by the creativity, variety and quantity of his work. He has vision, and doesn’t try to shoot like anyone else. His images are as recognisable as the voice of REM’s Michael Stipe or the guitar of U2’s Edge. Perfection is a killer in photography, and imperfection is totally underrated, just as sharpness is overrated
Above left Bono, Ireland, 1984. Above right Siouxsie Sioux, London, 1983. Left Mick Jagger, Toronto, 1994.
See it yourself
1-2-3-4, the exhibition is at the C/O Berlin Foundation, Germany, from 7 November until 31 January 2016. The accompanying exhibition catalogue is available from Prestel priced £50. prestel.com
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