One of the artists that inspire me the most is graphic designer and photographer Storm Thorgerson. Storm makes images for album covers in a surrealistic way. What I like about his style is that the ideas are very original and you have to look at a photo a little bit longer too see all the small references and the idea behind it. In the introduction of the book “Taken by Storm” Storm says “We like to think of ourselves as translators. The main objective is to translate an audio event, the music, into a visual event, the cover design. Our hope is to represent visually the music in its many diverse aspects and as faithfully as we can, although not always in a very straightforward manner. We invariably listen to the music in question, read and re-read the lyrics and talk in depth to the musicians about their work”.
In my own music photography I also this philosophy. A lot of bands are very happy when they finally release their first album. They put a lot of time, effort and money in the process of getting good quality recordings but a lot of them forget that the album also has a cover that has to be of good quality as well. A lot of bands just use a photo of themselves (mostly an old one that is of low quality) or a design that’s similar to the design of another band they like. But especially nowadays , when the music industry is changing a lot, not just the music but also the cover of the album should stand out to become successful as a band. I like to work together with a band to create more than just another generic band photo and dive deeper into the music to get an original image that fits the band.
In his work Storm Thorgerson uses all kinds of objects to translate his ideas and what I most like about that is that he tries to do as much as possible for real. “Doing it for real is our avowed philosophy – rather the computer in the head than the one on the desk” Storm says. So he doesn’t use photoshop to put a giant pig between four towers, he really lets somebody make a giant pig and put it between the towers. (funny detail: the wind was too strong and the pig broke lose and they even had to interrupt the the plain flights into Heathrow for a while until the pig was caught).
I really like that philosophy because it is the same thing I like to achieve in my photography. I also combine music and photography and also try to find an original idea and translate that in a somewhat surreal setting. The only thing I unfortunately don’t have already is a budget to create objects myself. Sometimes I have this wonderful idea in my head but I don’t have the means or money to translate it into a photo. So I have to think in more affordable and simpler ways to communicate my ideas in a photo but still keep it interesting and surprising. But who knows, maybe in the future I can start some bigger projects. But besides that, creating interesting photos with limited resources is also challenging and something that makes me think in creative ways.
In this post are some of my favourite works made my Storm. If you like it, have a look on his website for more: stormthorgerson.com/ And if you really like it buy one of his books to get a better view at the photos and read all the stories about how they were made. I’ve got “Taken by Storm” and “Mind over Matter – the images of pink floyd” on my bookshelve but they’re not available on his website any more. But the new book “The Raging Storm” should be just as good.