Beautiful, intoxicating insight into Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey "Po" Powell's Hipgnosis studio

Date
19 February 2015
Reading Time
2 minute read

You can almost smell the creativity, hash and late late nights behind the images in Hipgnosis Portraits. Or perhaps that’s just the super-shiny, huge full-colour pages. Either way, the enormous tome from Thames & Hudson transports you into a world of surreal scenes formed of surreal characters, taking us into the archives of the Hipgnosis design agency that helped form the mythologies surrounding some of the biggest names in music in the 20th Century.

Formed by Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey “Po” Powell in 1967, Hipgnosis started art directing their buddies Pink Floyd, going on to create the now iconic, prism-based sleeve for The Dark Side of the Moon. The pair was joined by Peter Christopherson in 1974, who later became a full partner.

Hipgnosis Portraits is a glorious, cohesive and exhaustive collection of some of the agency’s most famous works alongside lesser-known designs, with the work seeming as far out and intoxicating as it did almost 50 years ago. As well as showing finished imagery, the book’s first half details the stories behind them through archival materials and explanations of each work, penned by Aubrey himself. Whether it’s Voyager’s haunting images of a suicidal girl in the bathtub, Rick Wakeman flicking his big prog mane or Keith Moon reclining in nothing but a medallion and a fur stole, the images merge a supreme talent for art direction with flawless execution and ideas that few studios could top. And just look at Macca’s poncho!

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Hipgnosis: Syd Barrett, London, 1970, b/w photograph, 35mm Nikon Photography: A Powell/S Thorgerson

© Hipgnosis

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Hipgnosis: Led Zeppelin: Knebworth, Hertfordshire, UK 1979

© Hipgnosis

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 Hipgnosis: Paul McCartney: California 1976

© Hipgnosis

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Hipgnosis: The Hipgnosis Photographic Studio

© Hipgnosis

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Hipgnosis: Roger Waters, Aubrey “Po” Powell, and David Gilmour, UK tour, 1975

© Hipgnosis

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Hipgnosis: 10cc: London 1976

© Hipgnosis

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Hipgnosis: Lumiere & Son: London 1974


© Hipgnosis

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Hipgnosis: “If Walls Could Talk” London, 1970s, unused concept, colour photograph, 6 × 6cm, Hasselblad: S. Thorgerson, photography: A. Powell

© Hipgnosis

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Hipgnosis: Sad Café: London 1978
© Hipgnosis

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Hipgnosis: The Rolling Stones: Bow Street Studios, London 1973
© Hipgnosis

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Audrey Powell: Hignosis Portraits cover

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About the Author

Emily Gosling

Emily joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in the summer of 2014 after four years at Design Week. She is particularly interested in graphic design, branding and music. After working It's Nice That as both Online Editor and Deputy Editor, Emily left the company in 2016.

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