33 still lives
Few photographers live up to the term "image-maker" as completely as Anton Corbijn. His photographs, as well-known as the rock stars he has been shooting for the past twenty years, often reveal truths that surprise even his subjects -- uncovering hidden aspects of their personalities, and imprinting them into our collective memory. His artistry has shaped, if not transformed, the image of numerous rock performers. His legendary portrait of the group Joy Division in a subway station, or his unforgettable depiction of David Bowie clad only in a loincloth, for example, are as instantly recognizable as the Mona Lisa.
In 33 Still Lives, his fourth book, Anton Corbijn has created a new series of pictures featuring international stars from the world of the movies and music, ranging from Bjork, Bono, and Marianne Faithful to Clint Eastwood and Robert de Niro. In this innovative and daring collection he stages 33 "film stills" of imaginary movies -- single-picture stories disguised as cinema verite photographs which Corbijn refers to as "fake documentaries". The connection between these images remains mysterious and enigmatic, yet they draw the viewer into an imaginary world whose mesmerizing pull is hard to resist. In his introductory essay, art and media theorist Ulf Poschardt points out the singular position Corbijn's work occupies in a world of mechanically manufactured images: "Photography for Anton Corbijn has always been a search for fissures in the cocoon of make-believe". 33 Still Lives is both an adventurous expression of Corbijn's synergetic vision, and a profoundly beautiful collection of portraits of personalities we think we know, but never really can.