Never-Before-Seen Seattle Grunge Era Photographs Unvaulted At Hotel Max

We’ve been up to something special with the Museum of Pop Culturethe last couple of years and we’re so amped to be able to share it with the world. MoPOP loaned us four previously unseen L.E. Hertel photographs from their permanent collection archives, which will be rocking out in the Hotel Max lobby for the next year. One of the shots captures Kurt Cobain at Beehive Records and encapsulates the moment the band became the face of the grunge scene.

Lauretta E. Hertel got her first opportunity to photograph a concert using both color and black & white film in 1980, the band just so happened to be Queen. She’s been capturing moments in musical history ever since.

“We were a generation searching for a voice. We found it in poets who put our frustration and humor into words, and artists who played both anger and joy through their instruments.” says Hertel.   

A Man Sitting At A Table Using A LaptopAs Director of Curatorial, Collections & Exhibits for MoPOP, Jacob McMurray helps manage the 100,000 plus objects that the museum has been gathering for the last 25 years. 

“What I love about Hertel’s material, is she’s a great photographer and she’s got really great instincts. But also no one has really seen this material. It really came about when she wanted to donate her photos to us [and] it sounded pretty interesting.” says McMurray.  

McMurray and Hertel’s met at Jimi Hendrix’s grave, at Hertel's request, to view the items. She brought tupperware bins filled with scrapbooks, albums, and loose photos.  

“I was really blown away because I had no idea we were talking about thousands of photos across the span of 15 years.” said McMurray. “This was just amazing, the fact that she wanted to donate to us; and from Hertel’s perspective she really wanted to share the photos with the wider world.”  

A Group Of People In A Store Window

Pictured at Hotel Max, in addition to Kurt Cobain at the Beehive, are a series of three additional never-before-seen photographs of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, the Poise’s and Carla Torgerson of The Walkabouts.