The latest book of renowned music photographer Anton Corbijn, Inwards and Onwards, offers a selection of his photography focusing on artists, both musical and visual. The book includes 36 square-format images in his distinguished black and white style, taken between 1994 and 2011, and includes artists like Patti Smith, Tom Waits, Lucien Freud, Damien Hirst, as well as celebrities like Kate Moss and Nelson Mandela.
Corbijn has created a significant body of work which has extended beyond mere photography and has helped create a visual representation and identity for many artists, including U2, Depeche Mode, and Joy Division. It’s this strength of representation that shines forth in the portraits Corbijn selected for Inwards and Onwards. Each image is a visual statement of identity, communicating greatly about style, personality and attitude, and often the artist’s environment also. The images are characteristically his own, letting the personality of the artist come through, yet showing Corbijn’s dark thoughtfulness, sometimes balanced with an element of levity, as in his portrait of Mick Dragger, dressed impeccably as a refined woman.
Whether showing the artists in moments of performance, frivolity, or seriousness, the collection is an impressive body of portrait photography which demonstrates not only the humanity of the subjects, but also of Corbijn himself, who took part in those moments.
Inwards and Onwards is available for sale by publisher Schirmer/Mosel, and was produced in concert with photography museum FOAM, as an accompaniment to their exhibition this year. The book includes an introductory text written by Francis Hodgson.
Anthony Kiedis, West Palm Beach 2003 (left)
Lucien Freud, London 2008 (right)
© 2011 Anton Corbijn / courtesy Schirmer/Mosel
Reviewed by Katherine Oktober Matthews.