powerHouse Books is pleased to announce the April 2024 release of
Photographs by Guzman
Introduction by Michael Azerrad
In an era obsessed with Family Values, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love were well known for their struggles with addiction and parenthood. To reframe their notoriety, Kurt and Courtney consented to a rare photoshoot for Spin magazine with their newborn, Frances Bean. Only five images were originally published in Spin; the entirety of the photoshoot is seen in this book for the first time ever.
With an ineffable ability to connect with people through his music, Kurt Cobain was charismatic and full of pathos, something of a lost boy poet struggling against his personal demons while holding the world in thrall. And yet in the midst of his struggles with success, fame, fortune, drugs, and the wounds of a traumatic childhood, he managed in his brief adulthood to get married to Courtney Love—who of course had her own accomplishments as an electrifying and unrestrained lead singer and lyricist. The couple had already emerged as a cultural touchstone when their baby, Frances Bean, was born in 1992.
Family Values is a photography book presenting approximately 90 images featuring Kurt, Courtney, and their baby Frances taken one morning in their modest Hollywood home. These photos are selected from a 1992 photoshoot that award-winning husband-and-wife image-making duo Guzman did for Spin amidst toys and pajamas, the sweetness, humor, irony and the simple happiness of a new mom and dad at home with their baby girl.
In addition to the never-before-seen photographs, Family Values includes two personal essays. The first is written by Michael Azerrad, American author, music journalist, and musician who was close friends with Kurt Cobain and wrote the 1993 definitive biography on Nirvana titled Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana. The second essay is written by Guzman, the photography duo who shot the iconic Spin shoot pictured in the book’s pages. Below are experts taken from the two essays.
Michael Azerrad: "Guzman arrived at the house that sunny autumn-in-LA morning with their cameras and lights and an assistant; Courtney answered the door and graciously offered them Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and some guava pies...
Guzman: "Courtney greeted us at the front door and offered us coffee and a piece of 'just delivered' guava pie. She was super friendly, and while showing us around the house, shared that now-famous story about how she had recently bought a brand-new Lexus but Kurt, who couldn’t imagine himself driving around in such a fancy car, made her return it the next day. Her husband, she said, was upstairs but would be down soon...
Michael Azerrad: Although the concept of “family values” was not yet attached to the Spin piece—that would come later that same day—Guzman’s plan was to have Kurt mow the lawn, and maybe Courtney would do something domestic, like ironing, to spoof the outdated mores both musicians outspokenly refuted. But as soon as Guzman walked in the door, they immediately realized that nothing of the sort was going to happen...
Guzman: We began to set up our lighting equipment in the living room. A hair and makeup team arrived and they went off into another room with Courtney. Not long after, we asked the hair and makeup team to leave because they were dragging our heads with negative banter plucked from the headlines. Courtney rolled with it and said she could do her own hair anyway. That was clearly just a small taste of the distress that Kurt and Courtney were being subjected to...
Michael Azerrad: For one thing, Kurt was still in bed. Guzman just rolled with it: fine, they said, we’ll just photograph him there. So they trooped upstairs and photographed Kurt in bed, holding Frances, later joined by Courtney, and one of those family shots made the Spin cover...
Guzman: At some point, since Kurt hadn’t appeared, we asked Courtney if we could just go up and grab some pictures of him in bed. We weren’t sure if Kurt had been informed of this, but she gave us the green light anyway, and we all headed upstairs. For most people, meeting someone for the first time while sitting in bed would be a little awkward, but Kurt seemed unfazed by the two strangers standing in his bedroom...
Michael Azerrad: There are many good ways to be a family. In 1992, that was a difficult thing for some people to get their head around, and it still is. But, as these very moving photographs demonstrate, there is only one true family value, and that is love."
Guzman: Slowly, a narrative of two transcendent artists beside their most tender creation began to unfold upon the studio wall—and those are the images that appear in this book."
Guzman is the award-winning husband-and-wife image-making duo Constance Hansen and Russell Peacock. Known both in the U.S. and Europe for a highly sophisticated photographic style and an affinity for the eccentric, Guzman has worked across just about every category, with a concentration in advertising, fashion, music, sports, and celebrity portraits. Their advertising campaigns have included Puma, Nike, Adidas, L’Oreal, Louis Vuitton, Lancome, Givenchy, and more. Subjects in music have included Iggy Pop, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Mariah Carey, Missy Elliott, Janet Jackson, Erykah Badu, Alicia Keys, Wu-Tang Clan, 50 Cent, Hole, Sting, Soundgarden, k.d. lang and more. Sports figures include Tom Brady, LeBron James, David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, and more. Stars of stage and screen include Rachel Weisz, Jamie Foxx, Julianne Moore, Willem Dafoe, Tracy Morgan, Matt Dillon, Susan Sarandon, Spike Lee, and more.
Michael Azerrad is the author of Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991, Come As You Are: the Story of Nirvana, and The Amplified Come as You Are, a deeply annotated version of his Nirvana biography. A former contributing editor for Rolling Stone, he has also written for the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and many other publications.
Azerrad's recent writing on Nirvana includes My Time With Kurt Cobain for The New Yorker and ‘To Be Totally Led Zeppelin’: Nirvana’s Unsung Classic Rock Roots for TIDAL.
Upcoming Select Press:
Signing with Guzman at The National Portrait Gallery
Article in Harper's BAZAAR
Exhibition with Guzman at LABSpace
Article on Guzman in Upstate Diary
Book Tour at Barnes & Noble
Please contact email@example.com to inquire about writing coverage or hosting events with the authors
Family Values will be available on the thirtieth anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death
A partial preview is available HERE
Grunge / Cultural Influence / 1990s Music / Alternative Rock / Seattle
Hardcover, 8 x 10 inches, 112 pages, ISBN: 9781648230684, $29.95 USD or $40.50 CAD
High-res scans to your specification are available upon request; scanning from the book or lifting images from the mechanical file are strictly prohibited. Mandatory credit line: From Family Values, Photographs by Guzman with an Introduction by Michael Azerrad, published by powerHouse Books.
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