Photographer Jesse Frohman On One of Kurt Cobain’s Last Photoshoots

All images by Jesse Frohman. Used with permission.

The assignment was to photograph Kurt Cobain and Nirvana for the London Observer. Jesse Frohman had everything ready to go for an 11am shoot on location, when the call came in that he would have to photograph the band in the basement of the Omni Hotel, which wasn’t the agreed-upon location. Moreover, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was hours late for a five-hour shoot, and when he did arrive, he was high. This, however, didn’t hinder Frohman, an accomplished portrait photographer who had worked for Irving Penn, a legend in his own right. The shoot at the Omni Hotel led into Nirvana’s iconic Unplugged in New York concert with MTV. Now, more than 20 years after Cobain’s death, Jesse has compiled that shoot into a book, “Kurt Cobain: The Last Session.”

You can check out more of Jesse’s work on his website. But we talked to Mr. Frohman about the last iconic session nearly 20 years later.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed.

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The Nirvana Diary: Photographer Steve Gullick on Photographing The Legendary Band


All images by Steve Gullick. Used with permission

“NIRVANA entered my life in October 1990 when I heard ‘Sliver’ on the John Peel show, the deal was sealed upon hearing the beautifully brutal session they recorded for John’s show and their first London headline performance at the Astoria theatre that same month. At the time I was a photographer for weekly music paper Sounds, it instantly became my ambition to work with the band.”

Think about a single band that you’d want to photograph. Steve Gullick has photographed Nick Cave, The Prodigy, Patti Smith, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters and many more, and his photos have appeared in The Times, Mojo, Rolling Stone, Wire, Q and NME to name but a few. But Gullick fell in love with Nirvana back in the 1990s and went on to have the opportunity to photograph Kurt, Krist and Dave and their crazy times. Steve is releasing “The Nirvana Diary” soon, which he describes as a photograph journey of the times that he spent shooting the band.

April 5th, 2014 will mark 20 years since Cobain committed suicide and who helped further a genre of music that changed everything to come after it. And Steve’s photos take us back in time to when he was still around.

Be sure to also check out Steve’s Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram. Plus, you might digg his personal project on the images and his Loose Lips Sink Ships project.


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Photos from Kurt Cobain’s Last Photo Shoot

Last Kurt Cobain's Photo Shoot by Jesse Frohman (5)

All images by Jesse Frohman. Used with permission

Very recently, Rolling Stone did an interview with Jesse Frohman–the last photographer that had a formal shoot with Nirvana’s famed frontman Kurt Cobain. The account of the event, which is featured on Shooting Film, give us an inside look at how both a photographer works in a situation gone wrong and how Kurt Cobain acted. According to the story, Drummer Dave Grohl (who would later front the Foo Fighters) and Bassist Krist Novocelic both showed up on time and ready to work. But Kurt showed up hours late and the first thing that he asked for was a bucket to puke in.

Jesse was angry throughout the shoot, but states that Kurt was extremely nice and that he had to turn Kurt into a human mold. Kurt never liked to look glamorous either–and as many know he was a heavy drug user.

We got permission from Frohman to share the images. And they’re after the jump.

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