Inspired by a project by artist Jason Lazarus, Library Manifesto asked some friends to send in photos of someone who shaped their taste in music.
Lazarus asked people to send him a photo of the person who introduced them to the band Nirvana. I thought the resulting gallery of images captured quintessential ’90s adolescence and were a lot of fun to look through.
People form parts of their identity by finding music that they love. The photos Lazarus collected show other parts of this experimentation: teenagers hanging in basements, sporting XL tee shirts, blue jeans, buzz-cuts and bad dye jobs.
SHOKO My dad played me “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who when I was in elementary school, and it went right over my head. Ten years down the line, he watched me smash a guitar-shaped pinata on my 22nd birthday.
TAZ Here I am with my friend Lauren in 2003. It’s the summer before I headed off to college. We’re sitting in my bedroom with walls plastered in collages. A year before this photo was taken, Lauren and I first started to hang out. We immediately bonded over a shared taste in music and movies. I knew about Joy Division before meeting her, but she really gave fuel to the fire of my obsession with their music, and she introduced me to The Smiths and Modest Mouse. Joy Division’s vibe really spoke to our suburban ennui. We loved the darkness and danceability of their music. Lauren did and still does an amazing impression of Curtis’ seizure-like dance moves. She can really kill it on the dance floor.
ALEX I don’t think I can say that my brother, Eric, introduced me to any one particular artist, but he totally shaped my musical tastes growing up. I was always a few years ahead of the normal age curve of music nerddom because of him. When I was in fifth grade or so my brother got me into classic rock when the rest of my classmates were more focused on radio pop. Then, by the time everybody was onto classic rock in middle school, I was in my punk/proto-punk/glam phase. And by the time they were onto that stuff, I was listening to Eric’s Flaming Lips and Neutral Milk Hotel albums. The only things I liked before he got around to them were hip-hop and jazz, but he has since voraciously devoured both genres to an extent I never reached. I am the musician in our family, but he is definitely the greater music appreciator. I have him to thank for most of my musical knowledge.
NATALIE This is a photo of my Uncle Harry and me at a softball end-of-season awards ceremony. I was a bit of a tomboy and he was our first base coach. Uncle Harry was obsessed with Fleetwood Mac. When I was ten he gave me my first CD, “Tragic Kingdom” by No Doubt. I listened to it on loop for months. I think I connected with Gwen on “Just a Girl.”
Top image from Nirvana by Jason Lazarus.