When you think of Pink Floyd, what pops into your head? If it’s their album art, then you should also think of Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey “Po” Powell. The artists collectively known as Hipgnosis, are behind some of the most iconic album art in music history. Hyperallergic shares how the documentary Squaring the Circle (The Story of Hipgnosis), currently playing at the Sundance Film Festival, delves into the duo’s history.
For dedicated rock fans, few of the stories in this film are likely to be new. Thorgerson, Powell, and their contemporaries have told and retold them over the years. Powell appears, along with Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Noel Gallagher, and others. The film is like a best-of compilation, supplemented by a wealth of behind-the-scenes pictures and footage. It’s fun to see the unused photos from the Wish You Were Here shoot, assembled in sequence to create almost an animation of the two men meeting on a studio backlot, or hear an explanation of the chemical process behind the color-changing cover of Led Zeppelin’s In Through the Out Door. These anecdotes provide helpful insights into the mundane logistics that often underlie fantastical imagery. It’s easy to see Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here cover and not consider the effort to find a stuntman willing to be set on fire. And we hear in full about the infamous fiasco during shooting at Battersea Power Station for the cover of Floyd’s Animals, in which the iconic pig balloon flew away from them.
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