I know I promised a post on My Bloody Valentine’s concert last night, but I just received word that Shawn Mortensen, the photographer responsible for some of the most iconic images of the 1990’s, has died.
The details are uncertain as of yet, but it is confirmed that Mortensen has passed on. Sources close to him say that a memorial service will be held soon.
Mortensen was an instigator and a scribe of the 90’s art, culture, and music movements. He photographed Snoop Dogg, when the gangsta rapper was only 19. He cataloged the Zapatista uprising, and introduced Rage Against the Machine to their struggle. He watched AIDS decimate the artist populations of NYC and LA.
In 2007, I met Mortensen. We chatted about his life and place at the epicenter of 90’s art and music. He was supposed to write an article for LA’s Flaunt magazine, where I worked at the time, about his life, but instead of an article, he gave me a 22 page stream of consciousness, impressionist brushstoke of his experiences. ..We crafted it into a piece, but his unstructured, exploded grenade of 90’s snapshots tells more about Shawn as a person, and about the 1990’s.
Today I published, for the first time, Shawn’s unedited draft as an epitaph for a man responsible for creating the identity and the artistic arc of the 1990’s.