Grunge – the photography of Michael Lavine


Pearl Jam, shot for Details magazine in 1992. Taken from ‘Grunge’ by Thurston Moore and Michael Lavine, published by Abrams Image at £14.99.


Sonic Youth, shot for the sleeve of their ‘Daydream Nation’ album, 1988. “They came to my apartment near the World Trade Centre,” recalls Lavine. “From there we walked right the way through town before we got to Manhattan Bridge, taking pictures all the way.”


Nirvana in 1991. “For my book I deliberately chose pictures of Kurt looking positive, because he wasn’t always miserable, despite what people assume. He had a great sense of humour and he laughed a lot. It was from this session that the ‘Nevermind’ photos came.”



Mudhoney, 1988, around the time of their debut single ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’. Lavine: “Did I ask them to take their shirts off? No, it was their idea. I can safely say I have never asked anyone to take their clothes off for one of my pictures.”


Rabble-rousing all-girl punks L7, photographed in 1989. “They had a classic rock and roll energy,” recalls Michael Lavine. “Very raw. And kinda messy…”


‘Toothy Smile’ – that’s the name of the picture, not some obscure grunge band. Olympia, 1984. Taken from ‘Grunge’ by Thurston Moore and Michael Lavine, published by Abrams Image at £14.99.


Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, shot in Lavine’s Bleeker Street studio, 1992. “I believe this was the only joint photo session they ever did,” says Lavine. “I love these shots, they’re so intimate. They were in love, and you can tell.”



Most of the images in ‘Grunge’ are of regular New Yorkers, rather than bands. Lavine is particularly interested in subcultures, such as skaters and punks.