Anton Corbijn was received like a rock star when he gave a lecture in Skellefteå, Sweden, last Friday. The tall Dutch entered the room to a thunderous applause. But unlike a lot of super stars he was very modest.
, he explained humbly.
The acclaimed and well-known photographer, who during the years has worked with U2, R.E.M., Metallica and Nirvana among others, had declared beforehand that he did not intend to give any interviews. But U2.se’s representative took the opportunity to speak to him after the good two hours long music video lecture.
He was slightly reluctant when he said that he is in the middle of photographing U2 for the upcoming album.
, he laughed, speaking about the band members.
This was all that Corbijn wanted to tell, but he gave all the more beef on the recording of the “Please” video, which was also shown to the 400 spectators in the Expolaris conference center.
About the theme of the video, Corbijn had the following to say:
Corbijn says that he is dissatisfied with the end of the video, which was too unreal and overstated. He thinks it would have been better if the video was to end with a close up of Bono. But the most unexpected thing was that the official version of the “Please” video is not the version Corbijn liked the most. In Corbijn’s version Bono is bursting into tears.
, Corbijn said.
Corbijn did not reflect a lot on the videos he showed. Introducing each video he presented each artist or band, which was very parodic as the majority of the videos were more than well known to the audience.
, he mumbled before playing the classic “Enjoy The Silence” video.
From having been, to the record companies, an art form of relatively little value, the music video have become a real marketing tool. Corbijn has been there through it all and he does not have a lot left for the big record companies.
, he explained.
During the lecture Corbijn offered a lot of anecdotes. He told about how he, during the recording of the video for “Deliah’s Gone,” was invited to lunch at Johnny Cash’s place. Chicken was on the menu, and that posed a problem.
, he laughed.
He also told of how hard it is to get artists to act and that very few can handle it well.
Anton Corbijn does not like to plan and structure but prefers to let his feelings and intuition rule. To convey thoughts and ideas to others, together with handling all the techincal aspects that drive the recording a video, are among his least favourite tasks.
Corbijn’s role models are directors Jacques Tati and Andrei Tarkovsky, a fact that can be seen in his ability to weave together sharp details to a working whole. And when Corbijn is to do a video he doesn’t listen to the individual words of the lyrics, but instead he focuses on the musical feeling.
After having shown 13 videos and shared a lot of jokes and anecdotes, Corbijn ended the lecture and got, once again, a long and thunderous applause. He left with a bunch of CD’s, a cheese made in Västerbotten and a hockey jersey of the local team, Skellefteå AIK.
(This article was written by Olov Baudin for U2.se, loosely translated into English by Peter Hanning. Reproduced with permission.)