See 5 historic shots from Anton Corbijn's Depeche Mode photo book

Depeche Mode
(Image credit: Anton Corbijn / TASCHEN )

Whether you know it or not, Dutch photographer and director Anton Corbijn’s visual style has become part of Depeche Mode's aesthetic since the 1980s. “We were big fans of Anton’s art before we worked with him and after the amazing results we saw from the first photo sessions and videos, we had no reason to doubt his ideas,” says Martin Gore

The results have lead to some truly visionary work – including directing the 1990 video to Enjoy The Silence that depicted vocalist Dave Gahan as a king, travelling the land with deckchair in hand. 

The book DM by AC celebrates Corbijn's iconic work with the Essex electronic rock legends with over 500 images from his personal archives, some never seen before. Though the tome was originally released in 2020 as a limited edition version, the renowned art book publisher Taschen has given DM by AC a wider release at a more accessible price.

It's created with the full collaboration of the band and includes an interview them, in addition to Corbijn's handwritten notes. We've selected five of our favourite Corbijn images from it below. 

Depeche Mode by Anton Corbijn
Anton Corbijn, Reuel Golden

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August 1981, London 

(Image credit: Anton Corbijn )

Corbijn and the band go way back to 1981, when founder member Vince Clarke was still part of the lineup. The photographer first shot them live when they were supporting Fad Gadget (pics from this are also featured in the book) before this shoot for an NME cover story written by Paul Morley.

The location was Blackwing recording studio in South East London where Depeche Mode recorded their debut album Speak And Spell. Built inside an old church, it closed as a recording facility in 2001. 

July 1987, Randers, Denmark

(Image credit: Anton Corbijn)

The band are on the cusp of becoming one of the biggest in the world with sixth album Music For The Masses, and a huge touring act in the US. What DM thought was a tongue-in-cheek title for the record became portent. 

After joining in 1982, Alan Wilder was now an integral part of their sound. His diligent approach in the studio furthering the band's status as leaders in synthesizer sounds and production that helped make the concurrent album trio of …Masses, 1986's Black Celebration and 1990's Violator the band's most influential work; the peak of its 'dark progression'. 

Corbijn filmed the videos for the album's singles, Never Let You Down Again, Strangelove and Behind The Wheel – their super 8 black and white offering a distinct aesthetic.

January 1990, Switzerland 

(Image credit: Anton Corbijn )

The shoot for the iconic Enjoy The Silence – arguably the band's greatest song and taken from their classic record, Violator. Corbijn's concept of a king wandering the landscape "was not hitting the mark" with the band initially, but with neither party offering a viable alternative, the parties went ahead. A music video classic was created with all the colour shots of the video were filmed on Super-8.

As Corbijn notes in the book, his video for Coldplay's Viva la Vida was based on Enjoy The Silence's, with Chris Martin as the king figure this time. 

May 1992, Madrid

(Image credit: Anton Corbijn )

The band decamp to a villa in Madrid to record 1993's Songs Of Faith And Devolution – a reportedly difficult time between the band members and the last record to feature Alan Wilder, who departed in 1995.

Corbijn describes this a "dark period" in the book - and it was especially so for Dave Gahan with his widely reported substance issues during this time. This striking image of Dave Gahan with a Charvel electric guitar – an unusual sight indeed for fans  to see the frontman with any guitar, but also reflective of the records heaviest six-string leanings. 

San Francisco, 2008

(Image credit: Anton Corbijn )

With the band now the trio of songwriter Martin Gore, Dave Gahan and Andy Fletcher, Corbijn's collaboration with Depeche Mode has spanned five decades, including solo albums from Gore and Gahan. It's a role few visual artists develop with a band. "A lot of it came down to me," Corbijn writes in the book, "and I wanted to think for them. To be great for them."  

Depeche Mode by Anton Corbijn
Anton Corbijn, Reuel Golden

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Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.