Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013) was an English album cover photographer and music video director. Best known for closely working with Pink Floyd throughout his career, Thorgeson worked as a graphic designer for many bands from the 70s onward. Born in Potters Bar, Middlesex, he attended Cambridgeshire High School for Boys with Pink Floyd members Syd Barrett and Roger Waters and was friends with guitarist David Gilmour. He attended the University of Leicester graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Philosophy before getting his Master of Arts degree at Royal College of Art where he studied Film and Television. His career began in 1968 when he founded the graphic art group Hipgnosis, a group that would go on to design many famous covers. Hipgnosis disbanded in 1983 and shortly after Thorgeson and designer Aubrey Powell created Greenback Films and started producing music videos. Though Thoregson practiced many mediums as a graphic designer, he was most interested in photography.

I like photography because it is a reality medium, unlike drawing which is unreal. I like to mess with reality… to bend reality. Some of my works beg the question of is it real or not?

Storm Thorgerson in “Taken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson”

Thorgeson’s most iconic works are bleeding with surrealism. Taking the burning man calmly shaking hands on Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” or the Muse band members sitting at a dinner table in the middle of the Grand Canyon on “Supermassive Black Hole”. To achieve these surreal images, Thorgerson would forgo digital technology in favor of more natural, realistic looking images. This would give his images the effect of surrealism when he added strange juxtapositions or unlikely visual elements that looked as though they were of the real world. Thorgerson’s power rested in that his photographic approach could compliment nearly any band he worked with. Thorgerson released several books about his work over the years. The first, published in 1989, was titled “Classic Album Covers of 60s”. Another, released just before his death in 2013 was “The Gathering Storm — A Quartet in Several Parts. A documentary about Thorgerson titled “Taken by Storm” was released in 2015.

Thorgerson’s collaborations include:

  • Pink Floyd
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Black Sabbath
  • The Alan Parsons Project
  • Genesis
  • Yes
  • Muse
  • The Cranberries
  • 10cc

Thorgerson suffered a stroke in 2003, leaving him partially paralyzed. He was later diagnosed with a cancer that would eventually kill him at the age of 69.

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