Kurt Cobain Issued an Ultimatum to Nirvana’s Photographer

Anton Corbijn, known as a ‘celebrity photographer,’ had the opportunity to photograph various A-list celebrities, including Nirvana. Cobain wanted Anton to shoot another music video, but the photographer refused, so the frontman severed all connections. Anton told Dazed the following story: “Nirvana and Details magazine both asked me to do a shoot, so I ended up shooting with the band for two days straight in and around Seattle.” They were charming and playful, and I had a great time with them. Then Courtney [Love] showed Kurt [Cobain] some videos I’d done for Echo and the Bunnymen, and before I knew it, I was working on a video with Nirvana for ‘Heart Shaped Box.'” Cobain wanted to do one more shoot for a different song. Kurt promised never to perform another music video after Anton declined; Anton explained:

“Kurt was full of ideas and a joy to work with.” He requested me to do another one for ‘Penny Royal Tea,’ but I couldn’t stop the previous one and didn’t want to disappoint him, so I declined. He went on to say that if you don’t do it, he will never do another video. That was the end of it. They never did, and in retrospect, I wish I had accepted their offer.” Cobain stood by his statements and never appeared in another music video again. ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ was the most-played video in 1993, earning the band two MTV Video Music Awards in 1994. However, Cobain was unable to accept the prize because the ceremony took place immediately after the frontman committed suicide. As a result, ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ became the final piece he worked on and released before his death. You can read Dazed’s interview with Nirvana photographer Anton Corbijn here, and watch the music video for ‘Heart Shaped Box’ below.

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