The DVD release of TAKEN BY STORM: THE ART OF STORM THORGERSON is a three panel gatefold digipak designed by Storm and StormStudios and includes a short essay about the making of the film by Roddy Bogawa. Bonus features include outtakes from the film, several of Storm’s film school projects, a video of riding in a taxi with Storm in London, and more. Only available on DVD.
The DVD release of TAKEN BY STORM: THE ART OF STORM THORGERSON is a three panel gatefold digipak designed by Storm and StormStudios and includes a short essay about the making of the film by Roddy Bogawa. With beautiful imagery by photographers Jill Furmanovsky and Rupert Truman of StormStudios, the packaging also features a portrait of Storm on its cover resting (for those who knew Storm, this is almost unheard of) during a Pink Floyd U.S. tour courtesy Pink Floyd / Hipgnosis. Click here for a short animation.
The special features ONLY available on the DVD release include film outtakes of Robert Plant discussing the eight variations of the cover for Led Zeppelin’s IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR, Peter Gabriel on his first solo record (CAR), and Simon Neil and James Johnston of Biffy Clyro discussing the design for PUZZLE, two of Storm’s 16mm student films, a video taxi ride with Storm through London, a 1994 phone message from Storm to Paul Rappaport about his demands for the quality of printing for Pink Floyd’s THE DIVISION BELL cover, and various “failed” optical ideas from the film that were unused.
The DVD is all region NTSC SD. No Blu-Ray available at this time.
|Dimensions||10 x 7 x 0.5 in|
Larry Sweeney – :
An intriguing look at the man that turned a generation into unwitting semioticians parsing the objects and squiggles on album covers. While Storm’s work purposefully generated far more questions than answers, his openness during the interviews illustrates his playful process. It’s a fun film to watch and it had me digging through my neglected record collection for the first time in too many years.
Helen Schofield – :
Having been lucky enough to meet Storm twice, I jumped at the chance to purchase this DVD. It was a joy to watch as I was instantly taken back to the album cover art talk and the gallery exhibition where I heardand saw the gteat man’s wit and wisdom on life and the album cover.
I had a smile on my face throughout the whole viewing experience.
A must buy for all you collectors out there.
Lewis – :
Like the filmmaker, I grew up spending hours looking at the artwork of vinyl LPs and pouring over liner notes while listening to the music of our generation. Taken By Storm was at the same time, a trip down memory lane and a new adventure into the world of Hipgnosis and Storm Thorgerson. I still listen to vinyl and my daughter recently inherited a turntable from my dad so we have spent some time in used record shops over the last year and a half. Maybe the funnest part of watching this film, was seeing my daughter, who was born in 2001, recognize the images of the album covers and call out the band and album names where there were none written. I understand that Bogawa is working on a film on Syd Barrett: can’t wait!
JMP (verified owner) – :
Pretty Amazing DVD and very well put together. It details the life and work of Storm and Hipgnosis. Highly recommended for any music / arts fan. Well done.
John (verified owner) – :
Beautiful film. Very emotional for anyone with a love for music and art, especially if you appreciate great design.
The DVD Digipak is beautifully designed and worth passing down generations.
IAN POTTER – :
TAKEN BY STORM
So! You’d like to know more about Storm Thorgerson, that man who together with some cohorts in Hipgnosis produced most of what you hold in your hands when playing all that lovely vinyl. To say he had it “covered” is an understatement. Well you may have read the books, even seen the odd film but none like this. For me Roddy Bogawa (the film maker) has captured the essence of this man, his thinking and the real Storm to boot. Almost a fly on the wall documentary, but just like Storm himself, all what you see and hear is real, there’s no failed optics here. Go on treat yourself, enjoy yourself and I guarantee you that after you’ve watched this film you will be all the better for it, and go reaching for some of those bits of art in your collection – and I hope play those pieces of art, because as you will find out, they are intrinsically connected.
So Long Geraldine’
Marcela Hofman-Mourão – :
The film is an amazing look into the brilliance of Storm. The covers of Floyd albums always fascinated me, but in all honesty I had no idea how many more fantastic work he’s done for other artists. His work meant more than visual art but was part of the music… You can listen to Atom Heart Mother alone, but once you see the cover and then listen to it, it makes sense… That bucolic sentiment is build up with the help of a cow on the countryside and it fits the music. The film does an excellent job in dissecting such link. Makes one miss Storm even never having had the pleasure of knowing him. That’s what good documentary is about.
Piotr – :
This is an absolute masterpiece! A sneaky peek into the mind of a truly remarkable man. The only thing I wish for is there were like five hours of outtakes… I could not get enough of the backstage films and behind-the-scenes shots – your movie seriously should not end. Thank you, thank you for a wonderful journey – I look forward to your future movies!
Richaard Stokoe (verified owner) – :
It begins with sweeping footage of an expanse of sandy beach, littered with 700 wrought iron hospital beds. As an establishing scene it sums up the work of Storm Thorgerson perfectly: imaginative, ambitious, and with a blatant disregard to deadlines and budgets for the sake of the art, no idea was too big for the original auteur of sleeve design. We are then treated to a fine example of the man at work, conducting proceedings during a cover shoot for Tiny Pictures, the second album for a Canadian band called Thornley. The cover features a pile of a hundred teetering suitcases, towering over a bemused woman and her equally bemused dog. In many ways it’s a typical reaction to what is also a typical Thorgerson image, the sense that what your looking at is at once both real and unreal. It’s only when you keep looking that you see the whole picture, and in this case the luggage pile reveals itself to be a face.
“You could say he was the last great living surrealist” a contributor opines, and who could argue, other than the fact that Storm Thorgerson is sadly no longer with us, having died in 2013, two years after the film was shot. ‘Taken By Storm’ is the perfect reminder of what the world will be missing, but also as to just how influential he has been. Everyone’s familiar with his work, whether it be the album covers of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Muse or Biffy Clyro, even if they hadn’t realised who was responsible for designing them. And that’s the real beauty of the film. We’ve seen the covers, but here we not only get to hear some of the stories behind them, but we get to learn something of the man himself, a man who was “a big enough character to be a pop star. To be a rock star.”
Thorgerson’s approach toward sleeve design is clarified when he explains the difference between a normal product and a CD or vinyl record. Whereas most packaging will display a picture of the product, with a record “you’re not obliged to show the product. What concerns you is the representation of the music, of a piece of art.” It’s a statement that will have vinyl junkies everywhere punching the air in agreement. It’s what we’ve always known, that an LP is a piece of art in it’s own right, with music, inner sleeve and cover the constituent parts of an object that is to be experienced as a whole, with each element complimenting the other. And that view is itself something that Thorgerson is at least partially, if not wholly, responsible for.
He stumbled into designing record covers having originally studied for a career in film. Luck played a part, as did timing, as his old school friends Roger Waters and Syd Barrett were enjoying the first flush of success with Pink Floyd, and he seized the opportunity to work on their second album, A Saucerful Of Secrets, in 1968. His new career began at a time when sleeve design had already entered a more imaginative phase, due in part to the influence of psychedelia and it’s kaleidoscopic palette, but under the guise of their newly-formed company, Hipgnosis, Thorgerson, together with his partner, Aubrey Powell, took it to a new level. The tendency until then had been to feature the musician or band members on the album sleeve – the more prominently the better – an approach that Thorgerson and Powell would avoid where possible. It was a ploy that added a sense of mystery to the music, rendering it the ‘product’, as opposed to the musicians themselves; after all, when driving a car, no-one really cares what the engineers that built it look like.
And so it is with the man himself. Isn’t it better to know nothing about him so as to retain the magic and mystery of the cover images? Do we really need an exposé of the man behind it all? As is clear from the testimonies of that worked with and for him, he could be difficult at times, impossible even, but that doesn’t detract from the artwork at all. Indeed, it becomes clear that if he hadn’t been so particular in his methods, so unwavering in his approach, then the resultant art would never have achieved it’s true potential. If he had been less insistent upon not resorting to creating or manipulating images digitally, the images would have lost their character. Although the cost of a typical shoot could have bankrupted a smaller record company, the resultant image would have had but a fraction of it’s impact and meaning if it wasn’t so obviously real. He was stubborn, so thank God for stubbornness.
Director, Roddy Bogawa, has succesfully portayed Thorgerson as a man who, though single-minded, was a man of great wit and charm. He was also a man who hadn’t always been successful. An oft-overlooked stage of his career is that which saw himself and Powell dip their toes into the world of music videos, and it’s touched upon here with honesty and humour. Having become synonymous with the work of some of the greatest rock bands of the 1970’s, to see that the pair then went on to produce videos for the likes of Paul Young and Nik Kershaw seems bizarre. The venture was, as Thorgerson himself attests, a disaster, and died a death after just two years, following a catastrophic assignment with Barry Gibb, which Thorgerson describes as “some sort of cosmic punishment”. Sadly, the collapse of the company lead to an acrimonious parting of the ways with Powell, his partner of a decade and a half, inspiring Thorgerson to return to what he did best. He went on to work with some of the most respected rock bands of the 90’s and 00’s, arguably producing as many iconic images as he had whilst working under the Hipgnosis banner, and peace was restored.
When watching this documentary, it’s easy to get carried away with the nostalgia that those old Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and 10cc covers invokes, and to think that ‘they just don’t make ’em like that anymore’; that music has no place for visual art in this digital age. It’s an easy assumption to make, but in truth the musicians of today still care about the overall package, with the artwork and the music complimenting each other. You only need take a look at last years nominee’s for Art Vinyl’s annual album artwork award to see that some great covers are still being produced, and you could surmise that at least half of those designs have been in some way influenced by the work of Storm Thorgerson. The 2015 winner was David Gilmour; so in many ways, the legacy continues. And long may that be so.
OdC (verified owner) – :
Taken by Storm, comments and ancient history.
I am watching the movie for an umpteenth time, after receiving my copy of The Gathering of the Storm, and finding that director Roddy Bogawa penned an essay for the book. I watch taken by storm in a very particular fashion. I jump between scenes, and between stories, and I deconstruct the movie according to my memories, making it a new movie every time I watch it.
Of course, I have no desire or inclination of becoming the editor of the film, and much less to compete with Bowaga San, a master story telling. It happens that my memories twirl around the story concocted by Sensei Bowaga, and my story –my life story- rears it head from different corners, or nests in every nook of that part of the movie that is off-screen.
Let me say, in my defense, that I grew up in a communist kingdom 90 miles from Key West. The kings of the island, very strange, not king and queen, but a king and a medium priced prince baby brother were rather brutal. Among other things, and when the shooting squad became silent, and the doors of the forced labor camps shut for the last time every night, the co-dictators found time to forbid, god forbid, rock’n roll, jazz, blues, and whatever they decided was the satanic music of the enemy. The enemy only had to sing in English to become satanic. The tyrants were not auditioning for the role of villains in a Caribbean prequel for Footlose, but they had all the chances to be themselves in the movie if they had asked for the roles.
So, creativity became crucial. One either became creative or landed at the bottom of a police station concrete stairs, got a holding pen styled haircut, and one’s priced records would be destroyed. That was the price to be paid for the crime of liking rock’n roll. And then is when Storm –and therefore Roddy- come into the story, one helping me to live my own story, and the other one helping me to tell it now.
Since rock was forbidden, so were the records. There were several methods to conceal a smuggled record –one would pay hard earned money to the children of foreign diplomats or sailors in the merchant marine to bring those records into the forbidden kingdom. Then the sketch-adept budding designer would mimic the practice of the illustrator Dickinson, who did many of the Procol Harum covers. One would save a marvelous and delicate, a very cherished treasure, at home and would draw an innocent and abstract cover to be used in lieu of the original artwork. I was pretty handy with pens and ball-points so I drew a few covers for friends and myself. Another expedient was to use a record of a local band as sacrificial lamb. One would use its cover instead of let’s say, the cover of wish you were here, and would boil the unfortunate record to remove the labels, which would be applied onto the original album that one was camouflaging. There was always the resource of transferring the album to tape, and pass the anonymous looking tapes among one’s friends.
In my case, I was surprised once with Atom Heart Mother in my possession. I was dying. Literally. Quite literally too, I became suddenly emboldened and when the policeman asked me about the album I said: that’s Matilda, Castro’s own –and very famous- Holstein cow. The unfortunate animal was forced everyday to produce many litters of milk in the no-milk country of Cuba. Very surrealistic, indeed. The copper didn’t even pull the album from the sleeve, or turned it around to check any further. I left with my album under my arm, and I told myself that I would never try my luck by pretending that The Dark Side of the Moon was an album dealing with optics and light transmission.
Unfortunately, I never met Storm, so I could not tell him my story. He would have thought that I was inventing it to apply for a job, without a tangible portfolio in hand. The most incredible part is that I was mimicking Storm’s design methods without having even to know a thing about Storm at that time. The best part was that I didn’t have to deal with the musician as clients, or engage in any practical conversation about methods or money. I was my own client, the album covers were to my liking, and actually, I spent a lot of time drawing or composing them as a photomontage or a mix media collage. And no, there were not computers in Cuba at the time. The circle closes, in that area too. The models for my photos –which would invariable end up in crazy collages- were friends, sometime girls in several degrees of undressing, or male friends posing like a band, and usually the photos taken were black and white shots in a cemetery on in abandoned building. To that add some pens, markers, and ball pointers, and the process helped me to tell a story at the same time that I concealed a story that was already magically and marvelously told by Storm. So my aficionado scribbling protected the oeuvre of the master, and placed me close to his world, from an unimaginable place in time and geography.
And this is precisely why I watch this movie time and time again….
Jochen Klug – :
You know me, I am a massive Floyd fan and one of my most priced possesions is the “Liquid DSOM”, signed by Storm Thorgerson, framed and hanging on my wall, next to Syd Barrett’s Tortoise. As such, the imagery from Storm and Hipgnosis have been a part of my musical upbringing from the start. I cannot remember how many times I have turned an album over just to find that Hipgnosis were responsible for it, regardless if it was my record or if I even liked the artist. There was something in the style, in the artistic expression that stood out and spoke to me, regardless of what music or artist it represented. Therefore, the tagline of the film – “This man designed half your record collection” seemed appropriate but yet, this documentary was full of new acquaintances of both images and bands I had never seen or heard of before.
The film runs for about 85 minutes and although it is packed with images and album covers it still only scratches the surface of the total work he managed to produce. Even if the interview bits and the historical parts had been stripped down there would not have been time to include everything. This is something that seems to have been obvious to the maker of the film as well and that results in a very nice balance of showcasing a lot of the iconic covers along with letting the main character tell his story, supported by partners, co-workers and of course all the celebrities for whom he was the go-to-guy. (Please forgive me if I not everywhere in this text include the entire Hipgnosis team, but where they are to be credited, consider it done. However, this is a film about Storm)
I really like that the story isn’t told in a linear chronological order from start to finish but that the emphasis from the start is on Storm’s grandeur and his work. That sets the tone from the very beginning and we are thrown headlong into his studio and his mind. First after a while we hear him tell the story of his upbringing in Cambridge, being on the same sports team as Roger Waters and getting to know all the other Floyds along the way. Moving to London because that’s what you were supposed to do and more or less getting the first job due to a bit of luck and eavesdropping. Having visited Cambridge the other year it was great to see the pictures of all the places I as a Floydian just had to visit, especially what I think was shot down at Granchester Meadows.
It is easy for me to focus on his collaboration with Pink Floyd, of course, and with such stellar work with them as Dark Side of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and Atom Heart Mother I might be excused. Those are pillars in the Hipgnosis catalogue that more people might connect to than the work he/they did for AC/DC, 10CC, Rainbow, Led Zeppelin, Alan Parsons or The Cranberries, but to name a few. But this is what makes this documentary different. Yes, those albums are present, but the film is not primarily about the cover images we all know, or even the work behind them. The film is more about the man from whose mind these ideas originated. The source of it all. The tapestry of photos that flash before our eyes are just a way of quickly showing us the end result, like flipping through a stack of vinyl albums at a record fare and getting a familiar feel for some of them, perhaps even picking one up just for the sheer image on the cover. It’s just that in this case we do not listen to the music that is represented in that image, instead we trail the picture back to its roots, to it’s infancy and to its father.
Storm is famous for not wanting to “fake” anything in a computer or in post production. The 700 beds on the beach for Momentary Lapse of Reason by Pink Floyd is a very good example of that, the flying pig on their album Animals is another. We get more of that in this film, some of which was new to me but we also get to know that even if everything was built, staged and photographed for real, some things were manually edited afterwards making all not quite as it seems. I will not spoil anything but I challenge you to look at Led Zeppelin and Peter Gabriel albums and see if you can discover some things before watching. In a way, this suits just fine with the work he and Hipgnosis did. They created images that were hard to believe were real. Why not let that live on? How thin is that line between imagination and reality? In the creative mind of Storm Thorgerson I am not sure such a line even existed so who are we to say that he was not allowed to bend the rules a bit?
The revival of vinyl has to some extent reinstated the artform that is album covers, but as a whole it is a thing of the past. It is sad but as David Gilmour states: “Hey, that’s progress”. Do yourself a favour, get this dvd and after watching it and reviving that feeling of immersing yourself in the details of great cover art, dive into your own to the basement confided old record collection and spend a couple of hours with it. You know you’ve missed it and I am sure it has missed you too. And I bet you will find something hidden by Storm and/or Hipgnosis that you didn’t even know were there.
admin – :
hi jochen, thanks for such a thoughtful read of the film! you definitely understood my predicament in choosing what to put in and what had to be left out otherwise the film could have been three days long!!! hahaha! maybe that’s an interesting thought…hmmmmm….thanks! cheers, roddy
Jeremy Hollard (verified owner) – :
Taken By Storm Documentary The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis. How best can I describe this DVD ? Just ‘BRILLIANT’. Being a collector of all things Pink Floyd I was searching the internet and knew of Storm Thorgerson’s involvement with Pink Floyd especially Album Covers. After purchasing this DVD from America, I have gone onto having great email communication with the director Roddy Bogawa, and with his blessing I wish to write a review. And at the end I will put a link to the website if you wish to purchase his DVD.
Storm Thorgeson how best can I best describe him. ‘An artist who is an exponent of the avant-garde movement in art which sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind ‘.
This DVD covers everything from the beginning as Roddy Bogawa describes “ THIS MAN DESIGNED HALF YOUR RECORD COLLECTION ” . It features well known artists like Steve Miller, Graham Gouldman of 10cc, Alan Parsons who helped produce one of the greatest album’s of all time Dark Side Of The Moon. plus fantastic interviews with Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and David Gilmour & Nick Mason of Pink Floyd to name a few.
Storm’s, now well known company Hipgnosis was born when I believe he was 22 with Aubrey (Po) Powell which he started in partnership with many many years ago. The old footage is so interesting & keeps you on edge to see where this is all heading. I found it very informative with getting into the mind of this creative genius.
Finally I would like to highlight a few things I learnt while watching this DVD.
Storm designed every Pink Floyd Album apart from A Saucerful Of Secrets & The Wall.. He described The Theme Of Absence & the Hurt or Burn’t feeling in referring to the Wish You Were Here Album Cover. Storm’s reference in explaining the creation of the Led Zeppelin Album “In Through The Out Door” was a highlight as well.Even if you are not a Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin fan the interviews and archive content is spot on. Bonus Features are well done & the segment in the taxi ride with Storm & director Roddy was fabulous.
In closing add this DVD to your collection. ‘AN ALBUM COVER IS NOT JUST A PICTURE TO COVER A RECORD, IT IS ART’.
Casper Grey (verified owner) – :
Ordered in November still haven’t received… it’s now the new year.
admin – :
i mailed out your dvd in november. must have gotten lost in mail. can you resend me your mailing info to email@example.com i’ll post another…sorry, RB