One of the most recognisable album covers ever made is back in the media due to a court case which has been filed against it and the rock band in question.
Nirvana and their '90s release 'Nevermind' will forever be known for being one very unique album cover. However, the person who features on the artwork has now filed a lawsuit against the band, citing child pornography.
Spencer Elden, now aged 30, was photographed underwater in a swimming pool as an infant. His genitalia are exposed in the picture, and there's been a one-dollar bill superimposed in front of him, believed to represent our unrelenting need for money, even from an early age.
Now, 30 years later, Spencer claims that the image makes his baby-self appear to look "like a sex worker". Under law, non-sexualized nude photos of infants are generally not considered to be classed as child pornography.
According to Variety, the lawsuit reads: "Defendants intentionally commercially marketed Spencer’s child pornography and leveraged the shocking nature of his image to promote themselves and their music at his expense.
"Defendants used child pornography depicting Spencer as an essential element of a record promotion scheme commonly utilized in the music industry to get attention, wherein album covers posed children in a sexually provocative manner to gain notoriety, drive sales, and garner media attention, and critical reviews.
"[Photographer] Weddle took a series of sexually graphic nude photographs of Spencer. To ensure the album cover would trigger a visceral sexual response from the viewer, Weddle activated Spencer’s ‘gag reflex’ before throwing him underwater in poses highlighting and emphasizing Spencer’s exposed genitals.
"[Art director Robert] Fisher purchased fishhooks from a bait and tackle shop to add to the scene. At least one or more film cartridges were exposed in a short period of time which included at least 40 or 50 different image shots of Spencer. [Kurt] Cobain chose the image depicting Spencer — like a sex worker — grabbing for a dollar bill that is positioned dangling from a fishhook in front of his nude body with his penis explicitly displayed."
Spencer Elden is seeking at least $150,000 from each of the defendants, including band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic. Courtney Love, the executor of Kurt Cobain’s estate is also named, as well as Nirvana drummer Chad Channing, who was replaced by Grohl in 1990, before the photograph was even taken.
The suit also suggests that Spencer's parents didn't sign paperwork for the use of the image and they were only given $200 in compensation for the photoshoot. The lawsuit continues: "Neither Spencer nor his legal guardians ever signed a release authorizing the use of any images of Spencer or of his likeness, and certainly not of commercial child pornography depicting him."
Spencer Elden previously re-enacted the photo five years ago as part of the album's 25th anniversary.