Nirvana’s Nevermind has been voted by music fans as the ‘most iconic album cover ever’, followed by David Bowie’s 1973 Aladdin Sane and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album covers, which were also in the top five. The photo on the Nevermind album cover features a baby underwater in a swimming pool reaching for a dollar bill and was taken in a 50-metre pool at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Centre in California using a Nikon F3 film camera with a 24mm fixed lens encased inside an Aquatica underwater housing.

The album’s photographer, Kirk Weddle, has previously told AP in an interview that he initially had doubts about the shoot, ‘I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. The most important thing was the safety of the baby. He [Spencer Elden] was four-months-old and had never been in a pool before. I did a pre-light and pre-focus on a doll. This was before digital, so it’s a risk to not know exactly what you have. The camera was set, I’d pre-focused, the baby was lowered in the water and he drifted from dad to mom. We did two passes and he started to cry, so we quit. It took about five minutes; we shot about 20 frames.’

Test shots for the lighting and focus with a doll. Find out more on how this iconic shot was taken.

The photo has been involved in a long legal saga after Spencer Elden, the Nirvana Baby, launched a suit against a number of parties including Weddle, the former members of Nirvana Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic as well as Kurt Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love.

In what have been its final development, a judge dismissed the latest lawsuit over the iconic cover of Nirvana’s 1991 album Nevermind in September last year. Spencer Elden, who was photographed naked in a swimming pool as a four-month-old baby for the famous artwork, had filed a number of legal suits over the use of his image. Elden had alleged that the cover constituted unlawful use of his image, to which he had been unable to consent.

However, the judge agreed with the defence’s argument that Elden had left it too late to claim exploitation, and that he had enjoyed being the “Nirvana baby” throughout his life, having even participated in a recreation of the photo.

The Nevermind album cover image is at the centre of a lawsuit

The Nevermind album cover image has been at the centre of an ongoing lawsuit

Though Weddle has generally refrained from commenting on the legal case, AP had previously interviewed him about the process of shooting the cover for the famous album, which would go on to sell more than 30 million copies.

Nirvana’s legal team had been seeking dismissal since February of this year, and a California judge had already dismissed one version of the lawsuit back in January, though it was subsequently refiled.

This latest dismissal significantly reduces Elden’s legal avenues for some kind of recompense. However, he has the right to appeal, and his legal team has announced the intention to do so, meaning this saga may not be over just yet.

via Today fm and the BBC

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