Book review

Steve Gullick and Stephen Sweet
Vision On

Nirvana"We fucking loved Nirvana, we fucking miss Nirvana, we were lucky to be there, but at the end of the day, Stephen (Sweet) and I are just button pushers!" - Steve Gullick
    Sure. That's a bit like saying that Jimmy Page was just a guitarist. If two photographers have ever recorded pivotal moments on rock, it's these two. Nirvana as a photographic history is a blast. Devoid of a written commentary, the book takes a life of it's own, which propels it into being the ultimate Nirvana coffee table book for . . . well, Nirvana fans.

What we tend to forget in the aftermath is that Nirvana was just a bunch of guys knocking out some cool songs to see what might happen, and even though the end was abrupt and surrounded in media frenzy, that's still what they were at the end. Changing the face of the early 90s, was, I think, a little incidental for them. Sure, they knew what was going on, but who cares. One of the key reasons as to why this book works, is that Nirvana said as much in their silences as they did in their music - and leafing through it's pages is a very odd experience.
    You had to be there - at some point - to truly appreciate the book, otherwise, you may as well be looking at some photographs of yourself because they'll mean more. There are the moments here when Kurt seemed to dredge Morrison's soul for photo opportunities, but there are also moments when you think he could have been David Beckham's buddy. There are times when he looks like someone you beat up in school, and those when he looks like an untouchable rock god. At some point, Kurt Cobain was all of these things and they are all documented here widely. Never far away are Dave and Krist, but it really is Cobain who makes this book worth 'reading'.
    To tag on to the photography, for a moment; Steve Gullick and Stephen Sweet don't need to justify themselves to anyone. Two of the premier rock photographers of our generation have unwittingly captured a band in motion that says almost as much about them as their music did.
    That my friends, is no mean feat. Top work fellas. What it leaves us with is a damned decent record of a life in progress - a band on the run if you will. Gullick and Sweet may miss Nirvana, and so do I. You may not know it yet, but you should too. It changed everything and this book is the proof.

:: Sion Smith

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