© Guzman. From 'Family Values', which will be published by Powerhouse Books on 5 April.

© Guzman. From ‘Family Values’, which will be published by Powerhouse Books on 5 April.

New book ‘Family Values’ tells the story of a famous photoshoot featuring the tragic Nirvana frontman with wife Courtney Love and new baby, Francis Bean.

It may be the unlikely title for a coffee table book of unpublished photos of two famous addicts and their new baby, but ‘Family Values’ offers a snapshot into the life of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love at the peak of Nirvana’s incendiary fame.

Only five images from the 1992 shoot appeared in Spin magazine, but Powerhouse Books will publish all 90 in a new book next month to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death.

The images were captured by husband-wife photography duo ‘Guzman’ one morning in the modest Hollywood home of the Cobains. They show the simple happiness of a new mom and dad at home with their baby girl.

In addition to the photographs, Family Values includes two personal essays – the first 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. They tell the story of the shoot.

The intention was always to capture something different to the shots the media normally wanted of the couple. Guzman – Constance Hansen and Russell Peacock – arrived with their lighting rig and crew wanting to capture domestic bliss: Kurt mowing the lawn, Courtney baking. It didn’t entirely go to plan.

Guzman explains: “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.”

© Guzman. From 'Family Values', which will be published by Powerhouse Books on 5 April.

© Guzman. From ‘Family Values’, which will be published by Powerhouse Books on 5 April.

© Guzman. From 'Family Values', which will be published by Powerhouse Books on 5 April.

© Guzman. From ‘Family Values’, which will be published by Powerhouse Books on 5 April.

© Guzman. From 'Family Values', which will be published by Powerhouse Books on 5 April.

© Guzman. From ‘Family Values’, which will be published by Powerhouse Books on 5 April.



© Guzman. From 'Family Values', which will be published by Powerhouse Books on 5 April.

© Guzman. From ‘Family Values’, which will be published by Powerhouse Books on 5 April.

Pretty soon, the hair and make-up team were asked to leave for bringing up the negative press that haunted the couple, and Courtney agreed to do her own hair. But the shoot wasn’t going anywhere.

Michael Azerrad adds: “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.

“There are many good ways to be a family. In 1992, that was a difficult thing for some people to get their heads around, and it still is. But, as these very moving photographs demonstrate, there is only one true family value, and that is love.”

Kurt – arguably one of the most famous musicians on the planet at the time – was unphased by the photography team invading his bedroom. Guzman recognised that this was the scenario they wanted: Cobain and Love in their pyjamas, enjoying playing with their new baby. A far cry from the rockstar lifestyle.

Guzman says: “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. From 'Family Values', which will be published by Powerhouse Books on 5 April.

© Guzman. From ‘Family Values’, which will be published by Powerhouse Books on 5 April.

© Guzman. From 'Family Values', which will be published by Powerhouse Books on 5 April.

© Guzman. From ‘Family Values’, which will be published by Powerhouse Books on 5 April.

The award-winning photography duo has worked across just about every category of media, with a concentration on advertising, fashion, music, sports, and celebrity portraits. Their shoots include intimate pictures of dozens of celebrities, including Iggy Pop, Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre, David Beckham, Tom Brady, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Michael Azerrad is the author of ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991’ and ‘Come As You Are: the Story of Nirvana’. He is a former contributing editor for Rolling Stone and has written for the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and many other publications.

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