10 Nirvana Photographs That Affirm Their Greatness

Courtesy of Proud Gallery’s show by rock snappers that sums up the brilliance and tragedy of Kurt Cobain and band.

10 Nirvana Photographs That Affirm Their Greatness

AS THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY of Kurt Cobain’s tragic April 5 suicide nears, fans looking for a ticket back to a punk’n’roll golden age should dig out their plaid and hotfoot it to Camden Town’s Proud Gallery before May 11. Experiencing Nirvana, a collection of photographs by Seattle snapper Charles Peterson and UK counterpart Steve Double cuts to the core of the Nirvana phenomenon and the shy, fierce artist at its core.

“For me it was always the gigs. That’s where Kurt could externalise his demons.”

Charles Peterson

Yet for Double and Peterson mixed emotions are inevitable. Their work drew them close to the era’s defining group but also provided front-row seats for looming disaster.

“I'd seen Kurt on the street about a week and a half before [he died], and he'd given me his number”’ recalls Peterson, a pillar of the Seattle rock scene. “I actually woke up that morning thinking I should give him a call. But it was about 10 am and I thought, Nah, it’s too early. Then about half an hour later the phone rang and it was a photo editor at Entertainment Weekly. Then a couple of minutes later it was Rolling Stone...”

Below, Peterson and Double offer their commentaries exclusively to MOJO on 10 of their show’s most evocative shots. To be found: plenty of evidence of what was unique about Cobain and extraordinarily exciting about his group.

“For me it was always the gigs,” says Peterson. That’s where everything just dropped away, and you could tell that Kurt could externalise his demons, really relax and let it all go. You really couldn’t think of a more exciting band to photograph.”

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Experiencing Nirvana by Charles Peterson and Steve Double continues at the Proud Gallery Camden until May 11, 2014. Prints can also be ordered online – head over to proud.co.uk for more details.


Featuring more of Steve Double’s LameFest shots, a lavish photo book, Experiencing Nirvana, by Sub Pop’s Bruce Pavitt with a foreword by MOJO’s Keith Cameron, is available as an ebook, or in hardback from April 24.


For more amazing Nirvana photographs check out Steve Gullick’s Nirvana Diary.