Photographer and Depeche Mode collaborator Brian Griffin dies, aged 75

Renowned British photographer and Depeche Mode collaborator Brian Griffin has died, aged 75.

News of his passing was first announced yesterday (January 29) and later confirmed by  multiple media outlets, stating that he died peacefully in his sleep.

Born in Birmingham, Griffin was raised in the Black Country and spent his early career working in a variety of industrial jobs, before taking on photography as a hobby and later making it his profession.

After joining a local camera club, Griffin went on to graduate from Manchester’s School Of Art in 1972. He later moved to London and helped capture the British pop scene of the 1980s.

Throughout his career, he famously worked with artists such as Siouxsie Sioux, Kate Bush, Ultravox, R.E.M., Billy Idol, Iggy Pop, Ringo Starr, Queen and Peter Gabriel. However, he was most widely recognised for his work with Depeche Mode.

Griffin’s photography was used on the first five studio albums shared by the synth-pop legends, and the image used for ‘A Broken Frame’ was later named Photograph Of The Decade by Time magazine in 1990.

Depeche Mode 'A Broken Frame' album artwork
Depeche Mode ‘A Broken Frame’ album artwork

In 1989, The Guardian named Griffin “photographer of the decade”, and later that year he left still photography behind to focus on TV commercials, music videos, and films. He also went on to acquire a production company, where he worked as a commercial director.

He returned to still work around the turn of the century, and famously directed a documentary for Sir Paul McCartney.

Following news of his death, various figures from across the music industry have come forward to share tributes to Griffin.

“Brian Griffin, the amazing photographer behind the first 5 covers of Depeche albums, as well as albums from Psychedelic Furs, Echo & The Bunnymen, Siouxsie, and many more passed away in his sleep yesterday. RIP Brian,” wrote DJ Kenny on Facebook.

Bill Brewster also shared a tribute online, writing: “Sorry to hear about the death of Brian Griffin. When I interviewed fellow snapper Peter Ashworth, he said he was a source of inspiration: He’s a stunning photographer. I learned how to light by seeing Brian’s pictures and thinking, ‘These excite me’.”

Brian Griffin, the amazing photographer behind the first 5 covers of Depeche albums, as well as albums from Psychedelic…

Posted by DJ Kenny on Monday, January 29, 2024

Rough Trade shared a similar sentiment, penning: “We are saddened to hear about the passing of Brian Griffin… A uniquely talented artist whose creative vision upended the world of music photography and videography.”

Professional photographer Linda Wisdom recalled meeting Griffin, describing him as a “lovely human being [and] legendary photographer”.

Find more tributes to the photographer below.

Depeche Mode are currently embarking on a run of arena shows in the UK, Ireland and Europe, and recently performed ‘Before We Drown’ live for the first time in London.

They also used the gig to play ‘Behind The Wheel’ for the first time in a decade – dedicating it to late keyboardist Andy Fletcher – who died in 2022.


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