Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ Cover Photo of Boy Swimming Was Almost a Girl
Everyone knows the iconic photo of Nirvana’s Nevermind album, the naked boy swimming after the dollar bill. According to Spin Magazine, the little boy in the photo was almost replaced by a photo of a little girl. Photographer Kirk Weddle explained the full story in a recent story to Spin Magazine.
During the summer of 1991, DCG Records hired Kirk Weddle to shoot the cover of the highly-anticipated album from their recently signed group, Nirvana. Kirk borrow Spencer Elden — the son of some friends — he then went to a local pool in Los Angeles where the iconic shot took place.
Kirk Weddle told Spin Magazine that he was mostly shooting cars — brochures and stuff. He had no clue who Nirvana was. According to Kirk, Kurt Cobain wanted to do a shot of a baby being born underwater, but Geffen Records thought it was a bit extreme. He also states that he’s not exactly sure, but the chasing the dollar bill was a shot at the label.
Kirk goes on to say that they originally shot Spencer — one dunk, give him a little shove, click click click — and that was it on a half a roll of film. He says that its a difficult thing to hand to a client: here’s your on frame, gimme my check,” he goes on to add that, “it was such a dick shot.”
Kirk decided to go to a school where they teach babies to swim and offered $50 to bring their kids in to try out and $200 dollars if they pick their kid as a model. Kirk explained that there was this one girl who couldn’t walk or talk, but could zoom around underwater. But the label saw the photos and said, “We want the dick, we want the dick.”
Kirk has had people love the photo, but also has been given grief over the photo as well, the photo has held up over time and is a cool image. But he doesn’t want that image defining his life.
Kirk stated that now that Spencer’s old enough he would like to do another shoot with him swimming naked.