Shooting Nirvana for a High School Assignment

Words and photos by Angela Boatwright

These images were taken for an ‘on-camera flash’ assignment for my high school photo 1 class.

I was just a baby budding photographer and my photographic skills were iffy at best, so some of the images are over-exposed and some under. But I was at the show, fought my way to the front, and captured the moment. In the end, my naiveté actually makes the images more precious, as most of the photographs of Nirvana that you see are very well-composed professional images taken by photographers that might have been on assignment and not entirely attached to the band. These slick shots are oftentimes moments captured by several photographers simultaneously, all while volleying for prime position in the photo pit. Conversely, I was a teenager armed with way more nerve and passion than skill and connection.

I was 16 years old when Nirvana came to town in 1991. Nevermind had just been released and I loved the new song, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ I wasn’t old enough to get into the club, so I snuck in; I had a friend transfer the super inky red stamp from his hand onto mine. Clearly a lot of other people had the same idea: the venue only held 150 people and it was probably double packed. I was dying to see Nirvana perform ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, and when they did the crowd just erupted. The entire venue was moving–the floor, the ceiling, everything. I hand-developed the negatives the next day, and 27-years later I still have them in their original sleeve.

See more from The Annual print mag by getting a copy here, and go check out more of Angela’s work on her website or Instagram @angela_boatwright_

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