Born on February 28, 1944, in Potters Bar, Middlesex, Storm Elvin Thorgerson was descended from Norwegian ancestors. He went on to study at the University of Leicester and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors, majoring in English and Philosophy. He then enrolled at the Royal College of Art, where he studied Film and Television and received a Master of Arts degree in the subject.
Thorgerson began his professional career with the foundation of graphic art group Hipgnosis, with his partner Aubrey Powell in 1968. The art group was concerned with designing music record covers. The ending of Hipgnosis (1987) was followed by the foundation of Greenback Films by Thorgerson and Powell, filming music videos. Another business venture was launched in early 1990s with the establishment of StormStudios in collaboration with Peter Curzon and a group of freelancers. His work associates took up the responsibility of photography, designing, illustration, creative retouching and prints.
One of the most popular graphic works of Thorgerson includes his album cover for Pink Floyd’s album, The Dark Side of the Moon. It has been declared one of the best album covers of all times designed by him and drawn by George Hardie. He designed sixteen out of ninteen album covers for Pink Floyd. Most of Thorgerson’s designs included surreal elements which lent a unique quality to his work.
His craft often presented object outside their original context, often wide space placed within them which appeared odd on the surface but held beauty to the design, on the whole. According to Thorgerson photography has an element of reality to it unlike drawing, thus his works project a twist in reality and ask of its viewers whether it is real or not. Thorgerson avoided computer manipulation in favour of building massive sets and tableaus, staging performances and actions and “doing it for real” in what he called “mind movies” and “photo paintings”.
“I like photography because it is a reality medium, unlike drawing which is unreal. I like to mess with reality, to bend reality. Some of my works beg the question of is it real or not?”
Thorgerson suffered from a stroke in 2003, which left him partially paralyzed and was later diagnosed with cancer. In 2013 he passed away at 69.