The story behind the most iconic album cover of all time – Austin Monthly Magazine

In 1991, Kirk Weddle got a call from Robert Fisher, the artistic director of Geffen Records. Best known for filming commercial campaigns for automotive brands, Weddle also dabbled in underwater photography, which had caught Fisher’s attention. “He called me and said, ‘Hey, do you have a picture of a naked baby underwater?’ Weddle remembers.

While based in Los Angeles, the photographer was hired to capture Fisher’s unusual demand as the cover for an up-and-coming band’s second album. He organized the shoot in an Olympic-size swimming pool in Pasadena, working with a 4-month-old baby as a model. “We would pick up the kid, blow his face in his face and relieve him. He’d be missing out, man. Dad is here, Mum is there. Dad would throw him in, then he would drift towards Mum. And i would go bang, bang, bang, bang, bang [with my camera]”Weddle said.” And pull it out, cool, let’s do it again. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, and he starts to cry, and I’m like, okay, we’re done. The four-minute shoot produced the artwork for one of the most iconic album covers of all time: no matter by Nirvana.

On September 24, the 30th anniversary of the album’s release, Weddle launches a new book, Nirvana: Don’t mind the pictures, to share his experiences of filming both the baby and the group. Although he still does underwater photography, Weddle mainly focuses on portraiture these days. Next year, he’ll also publish a photo book that chronicles 12 classic dive bars across the state, including La Perla Bar in Austin. Co-written by author Anthony Head, Texas Dives: Lone Star State’s Sustainable Neighborhood Bars released in February 2022.

Because his no matter the model was a 4 month old child who had never been in the water before, Weddle tested his lighting with a foot. “I didn’t want to hurt the baby. So I trained with a doll, ”he says. The entire shoot took about 30 minutes to set up, then four minutes of actual photography. “It was a beautiful shoot,” Weddle recalls. “It was just pure photography, there was no client, there was no art director, no one there. Just the baby’s parents, I have a guy with me who’s a lifeguard, and me.

On September 24, the 30th anniversary of the album’s release, Weddle launches a new book, Nirvana: Don’t mind the pictures, to share his experiences of filming both the baby and the group. Although he still does underwater photography, Weddle mainly focuses on portraiture these days. Next year, he’ll also publish a photo book that chronicles 12 classic dive bars across the state, including La Perla Bar in Austin. Co-written by author Anthony Head, Texas Dives: Lone Star State’s Sustainable Neighborhood Bars released in February 2022.

Friends play dominoes at Mynars Bar in West, Texas.
Finn the bartender at La Perla bar in East Austin.

Note: This article was published before Spencer Elden, who was pictured on Nirvana no matter album cover, filed a lawsuit against the band.

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About Elizabeth J. Swartz

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