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.
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…
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”. pic.twitter.com/Xc4NUHInjf
— Bill Brewster (@djhistory) January 30, 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.
We are saddened to hear about the passing of Brian Griffin, the photographer behind the iconic album art for Depeche Mode, Echo and the Bunnymen and more.
A uniquely talented artist whose creative vision upended the world of music photography and videography. pic.twitter.com/CxFffVzcvV
— Rough Trade (@RoughTrade) January 30, 2024
RIP Brian Griffin.
I met Brian during the Hull international photography festival in 2018. Lovely human being, legendary photographer. pic.twitter.com/mJzRhG0yMt
— Linda Wisdom Photography 💙 (@CreativeWisdom_) January 30, 2024
It is with a heavy heart that I announce that my dear friend and business partner Brian Griffin passed away peacefully in his sleep. I am heartbroken but I will cherish every conversation, the time we spent together and all the wonderful experiences. Rest peacefully my friend. pic.twitter.com/YW5dYgsgR5
— Vaughn George (Vaughty) (@VaughnGeorgeV) January 30, 2024
It’s very sad to hear that photographer and Depeche Mode sleeve designer Brian Griffin has passed away. In 2016, I interviewed him as part of a month long Black Celebration special. Here is that interview. RIP Brian.https://t.co/ZzKeBdeVRf#DepecheMode pic.twitter.com/uV4Urkg1Vb
— Davïd (@davidjmcelroy) January 30, 2024
Sad to hear photographer Brian Griffin has died. His images helped to define Echo And The Bunnymen’s uniquely romantic weave of sound and vision. RIP pic.twitter.com/djrHhL7c0r
— Keith Cameron (@KeithCameron2) January 30, 2024
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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