new documentary on Hipgnosis - designers behind iconic album covers

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Ere, Jun 2, 2023.

  1. Only in the US, it seems.

    Anyone know if it’s getting a physical release in North America?
  2. Dhreview16

    Dhreview16 Forum Resident

    London UK
    Sadly, it’s not on Netflix UK (yet).
  3. johnnyyen

    johnnyyen Senior Member

    No, he doesn’t (Peter Christopherson), and the anecdote by Glen Matlock is very amusing. He did one of the earliest Sex Pistols photo shoots, which you see onscreen. These were rejected by MacLaren, because I believe he found them too disturbing. Peter Gabriel talks about him, and was clearly an admirer, after he had shot some photos in New York for the “Scratch” album.

    I thought this documentary was superb, and you don’t have to be a fan of either the Hipgnosis covers or the music to appreciate it. An excellent account from one great visual artist (the director Anton Corbjin) about another.
  4. Firefly Light

    Firefly Light Satire, It’s All Satire

    New England
    Squaring The Circle is a very clever title.
    Bhob likes this.
  5. The Hud

    The Hud Breath of the Kingdom, Tears of the Wild

    Looks like it came out on Blu-Ray yesterday, November 28.
  6. hyde park

    hyde park Forum Resident

    IL, USA
    Watched it yesterday via Netflix --- very well done. I loved the bit about the covers rejected by other bands being then used by other musicians, like McCartney.
  7. Mark B.

    Mark B. Forum Resident

    Concord, NC
    Saw this on Netflix the other day. A very nice surprise as I had totally missed this thread and was unaware of the film. Very enjoyable watch for anyone who has collected music over any part of the last 50-55 years.
    trumpet sounds and johnnyyen like this.
  8. grouploner

    grouploner Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    If you're still interested in reading the article (I thought it was enjoyable), try this link...


    Haven't seen the film yet, but I'm planning to stream within the next few days.
    trumpet sounds likes this.
  9. Echoes71

    Echoes71 Forum Resident

    Watched the documentary this weekend and enjoyed it quite a bit. It was especially interesting to hear about some of the album covers I was less familiar with (the story about 10cc's Look Hear? was particularly humorous), but I even learned some new stuff about album cover stories that we have all heard countless times. Storm certainly comes across as a bit of a nut, while Po seems to be the more grounded one (despite getting involved with some less than reputable behavior, all of which is lovingly recounted in the doc). The insights into life with Syd were also interesting, though tragic as expected. Highly recommended.
    Davido, Dan C and Mark B. like this.
  10. Kevin j

    Kevin j The 5th 99

    Seattle Area
    very cool doc. although i think i knew about the "animals" debacle, it was pretty fun hearing that story from the people who were there. that ****ing pig took off like a rocket!
    Davido and Mark B. like this.
  11. mBen989

    mBen989 Senior Member

    Scranton, PA
    I watched this the other day on Netflix.

    While it is a little weird a filmmaker and photographer who’s more associated with post-punk artists doing a documentary about a graphics firm whose work mostly predates punk, I found it an illuminating documentary.

    Noel gets the best line; “vinyl is the poor man’s art collection.”
    trumpet sounds likes this.
  12. Yawndave

    Yawndave Forum Resident

    Santa Clara CA
    Just finished watching it on Netflix--very interesting doc. No question about it, Hipgnosis was definitely the premiere album cover design house of the time. The footage of the Battersea photo shoot debacle was cool, I had never seen it before. I was a bit surprised with the unanimous opinion people had of Storm being difficult to work with. He obviously had a vision and wasn't interested in compromising, which ended up dooming the company in the long run.

    Looking at the DVD/Blu-ray listing, I wonder how complete the "Hipgnosis archive photo gallery" is. For around $30, I think Aubrey's
    "The Complete Hipgnosis Catalogue" book might be a better resource.
  13. Bhob

    Bhob Forum Resident

    Atlanta Ga
    I can’t find my copy of the book, but if it’s the album cover book, it’s more than sufficient.
  14. Andy Saunders

    Andy Saunders Always a pleasure never a chore

    Watched it and thoroughly enjoyed it!

  15. GeetarFreek

    GeetarFreek Forum Resident

    I thoroughly enjoyed this doc, the stories behind these iconic album covers were great, some terrific tidbits.

    Hipgnosis ended w such a sad thud, didn’t it ?
    sharedon likes this.
  16. TAF8184

    TAF8184 Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    I'm very surprised they didn't mention that Led Zeppelin's Coda was the last album cover they did.
    skisdlimit and midniteinsanjuan like this.
  17. PTgraphics

    PTgraphics Senior Member

    That book is pretty good but I was disappointed in the actual size of the pages. I think they are too small. I’m not sure I have all the books they put out but I do have most of them.
  18. Dhreview16

    Dhreview16 Forum Resident

    London UK
    C’mon Netflix UK. Get this on, please…..
  19. Fixed. :)
    Dhreview16 likes this.
  20. proedros

    proedros Forum Resident

    Athens , Greece
    this was great stuff
  21. Use a VPN, everyone! It's easily available on the US Netflix.

    Anyway, the documentary was fun! It's a bit shallow if you know the main players (Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, etc.), but it's still fun to have all the album cover stories in a single place.

    However, I now totally understand why Hipgnosis fell out of fashion; the "Wings' Greatest Hits" cover solidified things for me. Why the hell would you take a 7 foot sculpture up to the Alps to end up with such a dull shot? At that point, you're doing things just for the sake of "MOST EXPENSIVE ALBUM COVER EVER", which is rather antithetical to good art.

    There's also examples like the incredibly tiny sheep on 10cc's album and the brown paper bag over Led Zeppelin's last album. The idea of subverting expectations by making a expensive album package look cheap was barely funny the first time; it's a concept that didn't need to be repeating multiple times!

    As a side note, it's hilarious that this documentary was funded by the Hipgnosis Songs Fund. There's so much talk about "artist independence" and "freedom from corporate influence"... but the damn documentary is funded by one of the soul-sucking hedge funds buying up all these iconic acts!
    Rufus McDufus likes this.
  22. GLENN

    GLENN Forum Resident

    Kingsport,TN, USA
    I was never impressed with that Wings Greatest cover, and didn't even know it was by Hipgnosis until I watched this documentary.
    hello.mother.41a likes this.
  23. applebonkerz

    applebonkerz Senior Member

    Where did you get that idea from? The Wings Greatest sculpture is more like 10 inches tall! Which of course made even less sense to fly it any distance to shoot.

    Anyway, I'll agree with everyone here that it's a very entertaining film to see.
  24. I probably misheard the size; 10 inches does sound a lot more likely.

    EDIT: According to this listing (Semiramis by Demetre Chiparus on artnet), the statue is 26.6 inches tall, or roughly 2.25 feet tall. We're both wrong!

    Either way, it's the "flying to the Alps" part that's still ridiculous, so the point still stands.
  25. Agreed; I always thought it was an underwhelming cover. Knowing that it's from Hipgnosis (and that it cost a fortune to make) just makes things worse!

    As a side note, why did Paul enlist Hipgnosis' help for the Venus and Mars cover? He came up with the minimalist concept, and his wife was an extremely talented photographer. Are you telling me she couldn't photograph two billiard balls against a black background?
    mBen989 and GLENN like this.

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