Ahead of ICON: Music Through the Lens premiering on PBS tomorrow (July 16th), Consequence is sharing an exclusive early clip that breaks down New York photographer Jesse Frohman’s iconic 1993 photo shoot with Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.
The docuseries explores the vast and exciting world of music photography, casting light on the visual culture which accompanies and informs the sonic art form. Through electrifying interviews with music photographers, journalists, gallerists, and musicians, the show promises to take viewers behind the lens of some of the most recognizable images and moments in the history of modern music.
The short clip comes from the first episode of the series, titled “On Camera.” In it, Frohman takes viewers through the ins-and-outs of his session with Cobain, famous for being the final photo shoot with the late grunge star. Frohman’s commentary plays over irreverent images of Cobain with a cigarette in his mouth, a trapper hat on his head, and his eyes hidden away behind his legendary Christian Roth white oval sunglasses. These glasses would later be revived as “clout goggles” by rappers and athletes in the 2010s, demonstrating the lasting impact of Cobain’s iconography.
Frohman recalls the sense of chaotic serendipity which defined much of the shoot, starting from the very beginning: Cobain, stoned to the point of nausea, arrived four hours late to the shoot. And rather than shoot in Central Park as originally planned, the production crew was forced to move to the basement of an old hotel.
In the end, however, the disorder only added to the magic of the shoot: “When I got the film back from the lab, I knew I had something really special,” Frohman recalls.
In May of this year, a collection of digital scans from the photo shoot, dubbed “The Last Session,” was auctioned off by Frohman as an NFT. The collection included some never-before-seen images, and a portion of all profits went to the JED Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to suicide prevention and mental health awareness in teens.
Episode one of ICON airs tomorrow, July 16th, from 9:00-10:00 pm EST. The series will run weekly before culminating in a two-hour long finale on August 13th.
Get a first look at the clip below.