When it comes to coffee table books that examine great album covers from the classic rock era, there are generally two types: those that include much of the design team’s work from the 1970s called Hipgnosis, and those which consist entirely of Hipgnosis. work, reports Variety. Virtually every rock superstar who had the cachet to ask his record company to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a cover of Hipgnosis went crazy commissioning original artwork that could join the classic LP jackets of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin in a revival. photographic surrealism 12’x12′. Only Hipgnosis could photograph a cow against a blue sky, put it on a Floyd (Atom Heart Mother) cover, and pass it off as an act of mysterious depth on par with Magritte’s greatest works.
Although Hipgnosis in its heyday also did non-photographic covers (see Dark Side Of The Moon), those that required elaborate photo shoots often have very good stories behind them. Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of the giant inflatable pig that flew into the flying zone for Heathrow during the filming of Pink Floyd’s Animals; raise both hands now if you want to hear it again. You get that, and a few lesser-told stories, in Squaring The Circle: The Story Of Hipgnosis, a Telluride preview documentary directed by Anton Corbijn, a photographer and creative director who’s pretty much the only guy in the world so famous. for his design work group in his time as the directors of Hipgnosis were back in theirs. As renowned as Corbijn is, you get the feeling that making this film for him might have presented not just a tribute, but an attempt to come to terms with his jealousy of his ancestors – because overall no one has done it better. .
The two main creators of Hipgnosis were the late Storm Thorgerson, the perennial prickly visionary of the two, and – still there, and the film’s key interview – Aubrey “Po” Powell, the longtime partner who accomplished or oversaw the real executing Thorgerson’s wild ideas, often on the spot. They appeared on the Cambridge art scene alongside the young members of Pink Floyd and produced their first design for the band’s second album, Saucerful Of Secrets, an unusually psychedelic cover that quickly gave way to much more interesting pieces. . If you’re a Floyd fan, you may have spent far more time contemplating the aforementioned “Atom Heart” cover and its deeper meaning than the band ever did, or Powell, who was literally standing in his field after spotting a cow by the side of the road that appeared to have an attitude. There may not have been much more than “Set Bessie’s Heart Commands”, but a pattern of marrying the blue sky with objects or natural beings that have taken on an almost mystical value is born.
The three surviving members of Floyd are all giving new interviews, which is about as close as Roger Waters and David Gilmour will ever get again. Throughout the film, there is more personal affection for Thorgerson’s brilliant imagination than for his seeming grossness and lifelong bluntness. So it’s funny and telling that the biggest defender of Thorgerson’s character and personality is Waters, a guy whose irascibility has also rubbed a few people the wrong way over the years. But Thorgerson did the one thing Waters couldn’t forgive, which was to take credit for the concept of the pig flying high over an industrial estate, which the Floyd singer-songwriter insists to be his, and thus ended a beautifully grumpy friendship.
Learn more at Variety.com.
According to Pink Floyd information resource Brain Damage, the film features brand new interviews with Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, as well as Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Peter Gabriel, 10cc’s Graham Gouldman, Noel Gallagher and many more.