Inspiration: Anton Corbijn

foto(5)OOR Nr5 / 12 maart 1994 / photo of Kurt Cobain by Anton Corbijn

Since I was growing up, I was fascinated by art and photography in particular. Back in them days before the digital era (yes there was life before internet!) I used to buy a few music magazines and OOR was the one I’d spend my pocket-money on. Especially because Anton Corbijn had a monthly page where one of his photographs of an artist would be published. And I liked his taste for music since he was making videos of bands I started to discover. Every month I’d be curious to see which artist he had photographed. Somehow he became my music recommender, instead of the lousy top-40 hitcharts, it was so much cooler to follow Anton’s pictures! Nothing you could do but wait for the magazine to be sold at the local bookshop. Where I lived no record stored would exist, but I did listen to nineties-heroes such as: PJ Harvey, Jeff Buckley, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana. Damn I still regret not going to the Nirvana concert in Amsterdam, as nobody wanted to come along and I was too scared to go alone.

Here I found one of the OOR-magazines at the local library I bought when I was 17 years, I’ve collected many of these but due to piles of dust I had to throw them away after a good 20 years. First time I met him my dad took me to one of his book signing sessions of Star Trek, yes I do have a photo of this but that belongs to my personal archives 🙂 He also inspired me to connect with music in another way. I did become more connected in music but my photography collection is still expanding, secretly. (in other words, my “retrospective” is set in another 10 years or so haha)

foto(1)Photo of a photo by Tamara van der Laarse (use by permission only please thank you, erhm why would you?)


And when you are young, it is always a thrill to meet your hero, and so I did manage to go to a few openings of Anton’s exhibition, mostly back then in Torch Gallery. At his “Still Life” exhibition (2000) I was waiting patiently with my heavy analogue camera, feeling very uncomfortable inbetween press people and feeling like the odd one out. But I managed well, since I asked permission to photograph my idol. A certain moment he said:” Now it’s her turn to make a photo, she was waiting, where do you want me, in the space?” And so I could tell him where to stand and what to do. While I was shooting him and trying not to be nervous, it sure was a lot of fun. Much easier than photographing artists on a stage or backstage.

Two years later I handed a few of these self printed photos to Mr. Corbijn, who had his exhibition “A Somebody, Strijen, Holland”, again in Torch Gallery. This exhibition I found very intense and somewhat sad and ironic at the same time. He had photographed himself, dressed up as musicians he has not photographed and who (mostly) have passed away. People he has known or would have liked to work with. Anton was pleased to see my photos, he liked them and he was surprised that he could keep them. “Are these for me?” I obviously could have sold my photos to him, so I could buy myself a proper healthy meal, but what did I know about that? (as I was an art-student at the time, living mostly on noodle soups)

Exhibition 21 March 2015 – 21 June The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag (The Hague) and Fotomuseum are celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of Anton Corbijn, with a retrospective Hollands Deep, including highlights from all its series. Exhibiting his characteristic grainy black and white photographs of musicians from the 70’s and 80’s. In later series, we see how Anton always pushes the boundaries by choosing new themes and experimenting with techniques and materials.