The iconic image that sparked controversy, due to its decision to feature child nudity, has been recreated to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album. While it might not be as controversial today, the man in the image thinks it’s something special and a great way to pay homage to one of the best bands of all time. Even better, this isn’t the first time the Nirvana baby has recreated the image.
Recreating a dream
The hit Nirvana album that has sold over 30 million copies worldwide is looking to revamp and get a facelift for the upcoming 25th anniversary. All those years ago, Spencer Elden posed for the image of a naked baby in a swimming pool chasing after a dollar bill on a hook.
It might be interesting to learn, the dollar bill wasn’t even there, rather it was added later with the use of a computer. However, the naked baby was real.
In 1991, Kirk Weddle, the photographer responsible for capturing the original CD cover image, asked Elden’s parents if he could participate in the shoot. After gaining their approval, the team went to work to capture an image that, at the time, they had no idea would end up being as popular as it was.
Now, 25 years later, John Chapple, a new-age photographer, contacted Elden to ask if he’d be interested in recreating the famous image. Not wanting to disappoint fans or be replaced by a body double, Elden jumped at the opportunity to participate.
Elden says this isn’t the first time he’s been asked to participate in a remake. The image was also updated in 2001 for the 10th anniversary, the 17th anniversary in 2008 and the 20th in 2011. While it might be a little overdone at this point, Elden says he’s enjoying it more now and used to receiving the offers.
During an interview when he was just 12, Elden explains to Rolling Stone why he likes being a part of one of the most famous CD covers.
Every five years or so, somebody’s gonna call me up and ask me about Nevermind and I’m probably gonna get some money from it.
The original shoot lasted only 15 seconds, due to Elden being so young and unable to perform underwater for any extended period of time. His parents were paid just $200, but that was enough to keep Elden and his family coming back every time photographers called.
One noticeable difference between the original image and the recreation is that Elden is not fully naked.
While the controversy surrounding an image of a naked infant is still talked about today by some people who won’t let the past die, it would likely be sparked once again in the general public if the grown man had posed completely nude for the recreated cover art.
Surprisingly, the only image where Elden was fully nude was the original. He’s been clothed in every recreation he’s done; probably because his parents learned their lesson and didn’t want to deal with the public backlash every 5 years.