RollingStone Covers

  • After almost 20 years since Kurt Cobain passed away, photographer Jesse Frohman spoke to RollingStone magazine in 2012 about his intimate photo shoot experience with Nirvana in July 1993, which was originally commissioned by the Sunday Observer magazine (The Guardian) of London and sadly turned out to be the last ever official/formal studio photo shoot (in the United States) of the band, before Cobain's death in April 1994.
    Frohman told RollingStone, Nirvana were going to be in New York City performing at the (now shut down) Roseland Ballroom theatre in support of their then-upcoming third album, In Utero and that the photo shoot was scheduled to take five hours but ended up being a total disaster with Cobain showing up 3 hours late, lasting only 30 minutes.
    Frohman and his assistants had originally planned for the shoot to take place outside in Central Park but the band's manager had rejected the original plan to shoot outdoors that morning and arranged a conference room in the basement of the New York hotel where the group was staying for the photographer to quickly put together a make-shift studio in the last minute.
    Frohman recalls how the photo session was unique because he was shooting someone with glasses on and how Kurt wouldn't take his glasses off, so he couldn't really make eye contact with him easily. Later on the evening, when he got the opportunity to shoot Nirvana during their band rehearsal at the Ballroom, Frohman finally got to capture Kurt without the glasses but remembers,
    'The shot with his eyes is like seeing the wizard behind the curtain, and I don't know if you want to see that, but to me, those glasses become his eyes. I can't explain it. After he died, many magazines, including Rolling Stone, asked me for the shoot so they could consider it for a cover or shot inside the magazine. I never got one cover story because he's wearing the glasses and everybody wanted eye contact for their cover images. I wish I got his glasses off, but to me now, I think there's something about this shoot that you don't need to see his eyes'.
    Being a huge Nirvana fan and a loyal reader of RollingStone, I was inspired by Frohman's photography book, Kurt Cobain: The Last Session Hardcover Book and got the opportunity and approval to experiment with his work by collaborating with him to create and design a classic magazine cover for Rolling Stone (Australia) for the April 2016 issue to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Nevermind (1991) and explosion of the Grunge phenomenon, this year.
    For the magazine cover, I adhered to the strict brand guidelines of RollingStone and used the appropriate logos with a vivid colour scheme of crimson red and melon yellow. As for Typography, I chose a fixed pattern of two fonts: Trashbox and DaunPenh being used mutually with a drop-shadow of 20% on every word for the header titles, plus the exclusive story and the inside teasers.
    While, for the main subject image of the magazine cover, I used one of Frohman's photos of Kurt wearing a pair of large, white 'Jackie O' sunglasses, after relating to Frohman's sentiment about never getting one cover story, because eye contact of models on magazine covers is a significant requirement as it catches the attention of potential readers, influencing the behaviour and buying decision powers of the consumer, increasing sales and advertising reach of the magazine, in relation to global marketing communication efforts.