Nirvana changed my life. I was 10 years old when they exploded, yet I missed that because we didn’t have MTV growing up. It was Come As You Are that got on my radar, followed by hearing Nevermind on a trip with my cousins to the Aran islands. It blew my mind. By the time I got a copy of it I could remember every tune, there wasn’t a single dud on that record. In two years’ time Kurt Cobain was dead. His death still lingers and his influence on me remains. Nirvana completely changed my mind set, especially for the music I was listening to.
The combination of Newbridge Silverware hosting items of Kurt’s a year ago jarred me. Then again I had no idea that they had a Museum of Style Icons. It began to make a little more sense. It was funny seeing clothes of Kurt’s nearby to Princess Diana’s dresses, Marilyn Monroe’s clothes and the like. When the news broke that his mother, sister and daughter were all going to come to Ireland to open a new exhibition, Growing Up Kurt Cobain, I leaped at the chance to cover it for The Thin Air. I never in a million years thought I would get this close to Kurt. A few years ago I met Chad Channing and I thought that was my lot. To meet photograph Kurt’s daughter, Frances Bean, mother Wendy O’Connor, and sister, Kim was a true privilege.
I photographed the second day of press, which was for Irish media. The previous day saw the family do interviews with news media, this day they conducted the interview with Dave Fanning for press to take their soundbites from. I was initially told I could shoot without flash, and that I would get time to take photos of the family after the q&a. This didn’t get to transpire in the end, and my non-flash photos had to rival press who used flash throughout. I can’t complain, I have photos that I’m happy with, though a portrait of the family would have been the icing on the cake.
At the same time I got to listen to them discuss Kurt, his growing up, the effect he had on them and people they meet. It was very interesting to hear and not something I ever thought to hear his family talk about in person, and then meet them! Amazing day for me personally, and a great exhibition for Nirvana fans. I’ll be passing through it again before it’s gone.
Click to see the full gallery for The Thin Air.