Does anyone have a cooler eye than Anton Corbijn?


A new exhibition of his work, 1-2-3-4, is showing at Fotografiska, one of Stockholm’s best cultural centres.

Most young people familiar with Anton Corbijn’s work discovered him through Control (2011) – his beautiful, argent biopic of Ian Curtis, the troubled voice of Joy Division. And although his subject has always been music, Corbijn’s mediums stretch beyond film: he’s primarily a photographer and is also known for creating some classic music videos, from Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” to U2’s “One”. 

Corbijn’s work is a rare thing in a world increasingly saturated by images. He tends to develop relationships with bands over years – he even became the creative director of U2 and Depeche Mode – and photographs his subjects in ways that are disarming, revealing and bizarre: his portraits are sometimes so iconic they become indissociable from the music. 

Fotografiska’s exhibition, 1-2-3-4, collects 40 years of photography by Corbijn, featuring subjects like “The Rolling Stones, Courtney Love, Nirvana, Johnny Cash, Siouxsie Sioux, Metallica, Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Kim Wilde, Nick Cave, Bruce Springsteen and LL Cool J.” In the gallery notes, Corbijn says of his method: “I was not focusing on what could be sold to others. I was working in this very intuitive personal way. Today I blame magazines for asking photographers to take safe and impersonal pictures.” Head down to discover what is apparently an endangered species – a photographer who takes risks. 

Fotografiska isn’t just a gallery; they also offer “photography courses, lectures, and workshops for both beginners and professional photographers”. Also there's a great store for postcards and books, a café and a restaurant. It’s definitely worth spending a few hours wandering around.

“1-2-3-4” opens on Friday 16 September and runs until 4 December 2016. It’s a 25-minute journey from Generator Stockholm on the Metro. Ask at reception for directions.  

All Photography © Anton Corbijn