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Remembering Brian Griffin Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

2 February 2024

British photographer Brian Griffin, acclaimed for his album covers for Depeche Mode, Iggy Pop and Elvis Costello, has died at the age of 75.

Born in Birmingham in 1948, Griffin grew up in the English Midlands before studying photography at Manchester College of Art and Design. He started working as a freelance photographer in 1972.

He was influenced by Renaissance painting, surrealism and German expressionist cinema. But growing up and working in the industrial Midlands defined a photographic style "that has since been referred to as capitalist realism."

His playful portraits for Management Today magazine subverted conventional corporate photography while his later work graced many album covers.

He shot the cover art for Depeche Mode'’s first five albums as well as the covers of Psychedelic Furs' Mirror Moves, Echo & the Bunnymen's Crocodiles, Elvis Costello & The Attractions' Goodbye Cruel World and Spike, and Siouxsie and the Banshees' Dazzle, as well as the Devo EP B Stiff, to name a few.

His 1979 picture of writer Charlie Woods standing at attention after lighting a sky rocket on a grey misty day on Dungeness Beach in Kent was used many years later for the cover of Howard Jones's album Cross that Line.

New Musical Express named Echo & the Bunneymen's Heaven Up Here, shot at Porthcawl beach in Bridgend the best album cover of 1981. Rolling Stone magazine called it among the best ever.

Griffin's portraits of Ringo Starr, Iggy Pop, Peter Gabriel, REM, Depeche Mode and Queen, led the Guardian newspaper to name him photographer of the decade in 1989.

Over 20 monographs of his work have been published. It has also been shown at over 50 international solo exhibitions and is held in collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Reykjavík Art Museum and the Mast Foundation in Bologna.

Griffin became the patron of Format Festival in 2009 and received the Royal Photographic Society Centenary Medal in 2013.

The Guardian has published a number of his more famous images.

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