Kurt Cobain 20-year death anniversary: Nirvana exhibition reveals intimate photographs of troubled rock star

Charles Peterson and Steve Double's images are on display at Proud Camden

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The Independent Culture

Twenty years ago today, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain died from a self-inflicted shotgun wound aged 27.

Photographers Charles Peterson and Steve Double are marking the 20th anniversary of the music icon’s tragic death with new exhibition Experiencing Nirvana at London's Proud Camden.

The images displayed at the gallery include definitive live images of Nirvana and private off-stage shots of the group, who were known for keeping out of the public eye.

Both photographers started shooting Nirvana in 1989 after the gritty US band released their debut album Bleach.

The pair are now credited for capturing the birth of Generation X and the grunge scene, described by Peterson as "a supercharged lifestyle of expression, a familial community made up of stray dogs from every village who all had the same aching need for something to do, preferably loud and diverting".


To commemorate what would have been the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" singer's 47th birthday earlier this year, a crying statue was erected in his hometown of Aberdeen, Washington.

Mayor Bill Simpson declared 20 February 'Kurt Cobain Day', something he believed "should have been done a whole heckuva long time ago".

The Kurt Cobain statue in Aberdeen sheds a sad concrete tear

Despite Cobain's death being ruled suicide, conspiracy theories emerged that he had been murdered, with many fans still believing it a possibility.

"Sometimes people believe what they read – some of the disinformation from some of the books, that this was a conspiracy," said Detective Mike Ciesynski from the Seattle Police Department. "That's completely inaccurate. It's a suicide. This is a closed case."

On 10 April, Nirvana will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by REM frontman Michael Stipe at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. Artists are eligible 25 years after their first record is released. 

Experiencing Nirvana, Proud Camden, 27 Mar-11 May 2014