My skin began to crawl when I saw bottle of Becks beer with an image of Ian Curtis on the label. Then I saw, at the bottom of the label, Anton Corbijn‘s name. I only barely recognised the photograph in question.
When I looked closer, I saw that the figure on the label was actually Corbijn himself, in one of his ‘self-portraits‘. Corbijn has represented himself as Bob Marley, Freddie Mercury, Jimi Hendrix and as above, Ian Curtis, who he so admired.
Interestingly, we looked at the notion of self-portraiture in one of our photography classes recently, discussing such photographers as Corrine Day and Cindy Sherman. Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills were photographs of Sherman, taken by Sherman i.e. self-portraits. However, she played a part, a character in each photo. Was presenting an imagined stranger, herself, exhibiting a part of her self? Is it Curtis or Corbijn, if you know what I mean?
So not entirely enamoured by the idea of Curtis, or indeed Corbijn, featured on a product (albeit beer!), I looked into the matter further. It seems that this is a 25 year old collaboration between Becks and various artists including Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Yoko Ono and for you crazy kids out there, M.I.A.