It’s almost 24 years now since Austin photographer Kirk Weddle was tasked with creating the sleeve for what would turn out to be a generation-defining album: Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’. A few months later, he met the band to recreate the famous cover shot, splashing about in a closed Los Angeles swimming pool for snaps that gave a unique glimpse into the trio’s personalities and sense of fun. Here’s 20 newly unearthed behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot, made available to the public for the first time ever courtesy of Austin’s Modern Rocks Gallery…
Some of the photos were featured in the recent Cobain: Montage of Heck documentary directed by Brett Morgen.
The Nirvana exhibition at Austin’s Modern Rocks Gallery runs from May 30 to June 27 – the first time the images have been made available to the public.
Weddle was known as one of the industry’s best underwater photographers around the time of the shoot, and managed to convince the band to take the plunge in a Los Angeles pool on “an unseasonably cold morning.”
Weddle snapped some 200 images – many of which have never been made available before. “I’ve just kept them stacked in a closet, unorganized,” says the photographer.
Fun fact – the Modern Rocks Gallery owner Steven Walker you might recognise from stints in well-loved new wave crew Modern English, Spitfire and cult Brit heroes The Auteurs, alongside Luke Haines.
The band just come off a string of West Coast concerts when the shoot took place, leaving Cobain so exhausted, he took a nap midway through.
Images are also available for purchase on the gallery’s website, y’know, in case you can’t make it to Austin.
Slint’s incredible ‘Spiderland’, with a similarly aquatic cover, had been out a few months when Nirvana posed for this shot. A tribute? Maybe…
The photos in the collection are apparently printed on Chromira metallic paper with metallic inks to bring out the distinct underwater colours.
Here’s Krist paddling playfully towards the camera.
Fingers crossed Kurt let his instrument dry out before plugging it in to his amp. Health and safety first, guys.
Cobain striking a pose.
Dave Grohl posing crotch first. Very seductive, Dave.
Grohl enjoying his splash-about.
Water way to have a good time, hey guys? Right, guys? Guys…? Hello?