I have spoken about this in the past, as some eagle-eye fans had noticed a mysterious shape in the bottom left corner of the inner sleeve photograph of The Joshua Tree.
Here’s the thing, when your are on location in the middle of the desert, how do you check how you are looking? Well, the answer in the pre-digital age was to bring a full length mirror with you. We were a small group back then. That included Anton Corbijn, his assistant, the band, their assistant and a stylist. In between art-directing, I was also moonlighting as designated mirror-carrier …
Much of the shoot for The Joshua Tree involved impromptu sessions at various points along the way. On our way to The Joshua Tree National Park, Anton suddenly shouted to stop the bus. He spotted a lone tree off in the distance. It was an unusual sight, but one we were all drawn to. And so, we all trooped across the stub in the direction of the tree.
There was a certain energy to the shoot, driven by two things; One, it was very, very cold. It was December after all. Bono said that as the album was coming out in the summer, that they should look like it was hot, so jackets and shirts were removed. I think their faces tell how they were feeling about that ..
Secondly, the bus driver leaned out of the window and yelled “watch out for the snakes.” He then qualified that by telling us that it was too cold for the snakes to be active. Nonetheless, we weren’t taking any chances and worked on quickly getting the shots. The band took a quick look in the mirror, which I then discarded off to the side.
Anton was using a very wide-angled lens for this particular shot, which was chosen for the inner sleeve. And you can see the mirror lying on the ground in the bottom left hand corner of the picture. Again, in the pre-digital age, it wasn’t something we could brush out digitally.
Now, for the first time ever, the mirror is the star of the show.
This also marks an announcement of a limited edition run of prints, from recently rediscovered negatives I shot whilst on our trip to America. They include various landscape shots and details from our time there. Further details of this edition will be announced soon.