Grunge, the photos

by Laurie Henzel

My main squeeze, photographer Michael Lavine, has a new photography book out titled Grunge. The foreward is written by Thurston Moore, and the book contains stunning photos of street kids in Seattle in the late 80’s, as well as lots of seminal bands from the early 90’s. It’s pretty cool, and I’m super proud of him. Check out our review and a few images.

By Michael Lavine and Thurston Moore
(Abrams Image)
The aesthetic of the underground music scene has been co-opted endlessly over the past few decades, straying further and further from its roots each time a pristine Sex Pistols T-shirt appears in the window of a Hot Topic. Grunge, a collection of photographer Michael Lavines work, is the antidote to all that fakery, a brash photo-documentation of the alt-rock street kids and musicians who’ve been mimicked endlessly since the 1980s. In the books foreword, Sonic Youths Thurston Moore tells the story of how Lavine rose from Seattle college kid, snapping pictures of eyelinered punks and grimacing skaters, to shooting promo photos of most of the bands on the burgeoning late-80s Sub Pop label, including Mudhoney, Soundgarden, and Nirvana. While on set, he effortlessly got inside the heads of these music pioneers, creating eye-popping images and earning a steady stream of progressively higher profile assignments. Many of the photos hes since produced (of artists like Hole, Pearl Jam, and even Notorious B.I.G.) are now a part of the cultural canon, like the shot of Courtney Love kissing a pink-haired Kurt Cobain on the cheek. Grunge arranges Lavines output chronologically, starting with gritty images of 1980s counterculture teens and moving into shots of then-baby-faced rock idols like Billy Corgan and Chris Cornell. Moore discusses the roots of these rock legends in the foreword, and their role in the unfortunately named grunge scene. Lavines envelope-pushing style with its inventive angles, distorted backgrounds, and candid joyfulness helped define and expose that genre, and the gonzo shots hes captured prove that while punk style can be bought and sold, attitude and imagination arent for sale. [Molly Simms]

Pussy Galore



Kurt and Courtney

Kurt and Courtney for their Sassy cover shoot

Beat Happening

Beat Happening

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