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Michael Lavine (born October 13, 1963, San Francisco, CAmarker) grew up in Denver, Coloradomarker, and graduated from Denver's South High School in 1981. During his school years a camera was never far from Michael's hand. He was active in the photography club, and as a photographer for the school newspaper and year book.

After high school he headed to the Pacific Northwest and attended Evergreen University in Olympia, Washingtonmarker, graduating in 1985. He then moved to New York Citymarker, attending Parson's School of Designmarker, where he received a B.F.A..

While in the state of Washington he became one of the "photographers of record" of the then nascent grunge music scene. His personal friendships with Kurt Cobain and other members of the group Nirvana gave him unparalleled access to create a visual record of that iconic group. He also photographed other grunge era bands such as White Zombie, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Sonic Youth and the The Flaming Lips. All these photographs were compiled in a 1996 Simon and Schuster book, Noise From the Underground.

One of Lavine's most known photographs is the cover for the CD Life After Death by The Notorious B.I.G., which was released fifteen days after Biggie's murder. The black and white photograph features Wallace (Biggie) standing alongside a black funeral hearse. In hindsight many saw this as portending his death. In another black and white photograph from the same shoot, Wallace is standing in front of row after row of headstones in a graveyard.

Since 1988, Lavine has been photographing music and entertainment performers, landscapes, politicians and artists, as well as daily American life and everyday people. His style of bold saturated colors, dynamic and extreme use of lighting, and his awareness of what works graphically and what doesn’t, have made him a sought after photographer. He has also received awards from Communication Arts' Photography and Advertising Annual each year since 1992, as well as from American Photography, the Art Director's Club and Photo District News.

Lavine currently resides in New York City's SoHomarker neighborhood with his wife and two daughters.


  • Noise from the Underground: A Secret History of Alternative Rock Fireside (November 1996) ISBN 0684815133
  • Wu-Tang Manual Riverhead Books (February 2005) ISBN 1594480184

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