Michael Jackson’s Personal Photographer Remembers How They Met

Source: New Republic – By Anna Hiatt| MJWN | All Things Michael

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Harrison Funk remembers being captivated by Michael Jackson’s eyes. “Michael had the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever photographed,” he told me recently. “They were large. They were expressive. They were deep. I don’t mean that physically. It was a picture into his soul. I think Michael, he knew in every picture what he wanted to convey. Even when he was completely natural he could convey a message to the camera.”

Funk began shooting Michael in the early 1980s and continued on and off until his death five years ago on June 25, 2009. Funk was in his twenties when he made his first shot of Michael, before the singer launched his solo career. Funk had been invited to a party at New York City’s Tavern on the Green, and he found himself shooting pictures of Michael and the rest of the Jackson family backstage. Shortly afterward, Funk got a call from Michael’s publicist, inviting him to Los Angeles. Without promise of a job or even reimbursement, Funk got on the plane.

He remembers the day that he and Michael connectedreally connectedfor the first time. Tito Jackson’s kids were playing in a softball game, and while a couple of the brothers hung out on the sidelines, Michael sat by himself in a parked car down the block. When he saw Funk approach, Michael told him to get in and the two sat talking about “everything in the world, and baseball.”

Michael Jackson 1958-2009 King of Pop

“Michael used to do something when he wanted the attention of the camera. He would practice his moves. Like when he’d go ‘hee hee,’ and I could tell that was the moment to pick up my camera and shoot.” ~ Harrison Funk

Funk chronicled Jackson’s career, starting with the Jacksons’ Victory Tour in 1984 and Michael’s first solo tour, Bad (1987-89). “He taught me so much about observing, seeing the moment and capturing the moment,” Funk said. “He taught me so much about perfection and Michael was a perfectionist. He wanted everything to be just so, even when it was spontaneous, it was just so. That was part of his brilliance, the ability to make that happen without any effort.”

Access and trust are key to making documentary images, especially with publicity-conscious celebrities. “I was just myself,” Funk said. “There was no pretense. I am who I am. I was open, and they knew that no picture would leave my hands without approval. And it got to the point to the middle of the tour where I was able to approve images. They trusted me.”

"I think that image represents a slice of the 80s and the culture of the 80s that's unbelievable. Here you have the first African American man running for president, Jesse, and the most famous human being alive, and Jesse is giving him advice." ~ Harrison Funk

“I think that image represents a slice of the 80s and the culture of the 80s that’s unbelievable. Here you have the first African American man running for president, Jesse, and the most famous human being alive, and Jesse is giving him advice.” ~ Harrison Funk

Funk remembers vividly the day he photographed Jesse Jackson and Michael Jackson. Jesse was running for president, and he was planning to attend an NAACP convention the candidate near a location where Michael would be performing. The candidate asked for a meeting with the pop star to talk about how few black workers the pop star had on his crew.


Funk and Jesse Jackson’s personal photographer, Bruce Talamon, sat on the floor shooting as the two Jacksons talked, and suddenly Jesse turned and dismissed his photographer. “’Alright, photo op’s over.’ Michael turns to me and says, ‘Harrison, stay.’” Turning back to Jesse, Michael said, ‘My photographer shoots everything.’”

"He got to meet Kermit!" ~ Harrison Funk

“He got to meet Kermit!” ~ Harrison Funk

Musicians started restricting photographic access in the 80s, Funk remembers. “They didn’t want to be photographed snorting a pound of coke.” But Michael Jackson and his family were different, and to them, Funk was a friend. They welcomed him onto the tour and into their lives.

“He liked to play practical jokes, and he liked to have fun. He was a big kid. There was one food fight where I wore a bucket of shrimp…after they poured it all over me,” Funk said.

Michael Jackson 1958-2009 King of Pop

Harrison Funk

Michael Jackson - King of Pop 1958-2009

Harrison Funk

This week, in Los Angeles, is Michael week, Funk said, and he’s been documenting the gathering crowds who considered Michael Jackson a prophet. Funk still grieves for his friend, but quietly, away from the fans who gather to pay tribute.

Read more at New Republic

5 Reasons We’ll Never See Another Artist Like Michael Jackson

Sources: Hit Fix (Published June 25, 2014) | All Things Michael


Five years ago today Michael Jackson died. It feels like it was yesterday. His music still floods the airwaves and theaters and his popularity remains undiminished.

Here are five reasons we’ll never see the likes of his singular talent again:

1. He had time to develop: There’s no real development process anymore: whether it’s the immediacy of “American Idol,” “The Voice,” etc., or YouTube, wanna-be artists get exposure often way before they are ready—even though they think they are. Jackson and his brothers incubated in Gary, Ind., away from any spotlight. Though Michael became famous at a very, very early age, that was only after the Jackson 5 had worked their way up through local talent shows, regional tours and more before Motown signed them in 1968.


2. He was born a star: Jackson came alive on stage in a way that only a handful of artists since the advent of modern entertainment have: Elvis, Jackson, Springsteen. These aren’t artists who simply enjoyed/enjoy being on stage: They crave it and have to have it and feel more alive on stage than anywhere else. There is a magic that happens when the lights go down and they walk on the stage that can’t be taught, it can’t be learned. It can be nurtured, but you’re either born with it or you’re not and 99.999% of all performers aren’t. Jackson was.

3. He worked hard: Jackson had an unbelievable amount of talent bestowed upon him by the talent gods, but he then took those gifts and worked on them incessantly. He studied Gene Kelly’s dance moves, he practiced singing and worked to find different places his voice could go. He was constantly trying to improve and up his game. There never seemed to be a moment where he felt like he could rest on his laurels.

4. He didn’t play it safe: It’s easy to forget how adventurous he was musically because the risks he took have since cleared the path for other artists. When “Beat It” came out, the thought of having a rock solo by the likes of Eddie Van Halen on a pop/R&B track was unheard of…and he encountered plenty of push back. Just like pioneers always do.  He transcended genres with a fearless abandon and commitment to pushing music forward.

5. He could sing: His stage presence and dance ability were so otherworldly, it’s easy to overlook what a great vocalist he was. Listen to those records: the tear in his voice on “She’s Out Of My Life,” the hopeful determination in “Man In The Mirror,” unbridled joy on “The Way You Make Me Feel,” the growl in “Dirty Diana.”  He had range and strength, but he also had emotion. Not that many artists have that hat trick.

Read more at Hitfix

A Letter to Michael: Moonwalking on the Clouds

Source: Awesomely Luvvie (Published June 25, 2009) | All Things Michael

Designed by MrSmartGuy

Designed by MrSmartGuy

This week’s letter isn’t sternly-worded, but filled with much sadness. Consider this the fan letter I never sent.

Dear Michael Jackson,

You were the greatest. You ARE the King of Pop, and arguably the most LEGENDARY musician EVER to grace this Earth. You sang like your throat was ambrosia-coated and danced like your feet were silk. I “Remember the Times” when me, my siblings and my cousins would watch VHS tapes of your concerts and squeal for you like we were at the arena. I remember when I first heard the song “Heal the World” and the music swayed me back and forth. “Black and White” comes on and I can’t help but bounce my shoulders diagonally.

My heart is broken. This is a day that is sadder than I have experienced in a long time. Your death has affected me worse than any other death of a person I didn’t know directly, but I felt like I knew you. I’m young enough to have never lived without your fame but old enough to appreciate the impact you made.

I will never forget where I was when I found out that you passed away. I made a shrieking sound and it reverberated around my office. I yelled “Michael Jackson died!” and an echo of “WHAT?” came from my coworkers. I was shocked. The seemingly impossible happened. You were one of the people who’s presence was taken for granted because we just assumed you would always be there.

I weep for a world where my kids (future) will grow up without you, MJ. You’ve joined Uncle Luffa, Barry White and Gerald Levert. All they have left is SouljaBoy! My kids will grow up in a world where the most popular music is by a guy who puts white out on his sunglasses. I Can’t. I just CANNOT! My future Luvvies will be put on STRICT old school music diet. Ain’t gon be no Souljah Boy or *insert irrelevant artist here* in MY household! No sah!

I wanna go out and buy EVERY CD you ever made. YES, actual physical CDs, not just iTunes downloads. You sold 750 million albums, a number that I cannot even FATHOM ever happening again. A number that is so ridiculous that one might as well say “gazillion” and it’d be accurate.

My kids WILL know that “Billie Jean” was not your lover while Jamming. We won’t “Stop Till We Get Enough”. Michael, you made “HIStory” and that is undeniable. Now that you’ve “Eased on Down the Road” to meet Him, I “Cry” because you’re “Gone Too Soon”. We thought “Heaven can wait” but it apparently couldn’t. Your music “Heal(ed) the World” and for that, you “Rock my World”. I “Never Can Say Goodbye” but I do I hope you’re resting in peace.

More important than the icon you were, you were a person. Flawed, but still magnetic and sometimes, larger than life. My thoughts are with your family and friends, who I cannot imagine their pain. You touched the entire world and never met most people. Those you did know must be in such anguish that it hurts. If my heart is broken, theirs must be a mosaic of broken pieces on the floor.

You’re gone but you can NEVER be forgotten. The whole world mourns you, and it lets me know that the footprints you left in the sand are so deep that no tide could wipe them away.

Your favorite (in my head) “P.Y.T.”,


P.S. Just wondering… did you teach St. Peter how to Moonwalk at the Pearly Gates? Are you going to re-enact the Thriller video with the archangels? :’-)

The King of Pop Remembered In A Colourful Way

Source: Indian Express | MJ Vibe | All Things Michael


The exhibition being held at the Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery as a tribute to Michael Jackson

Another day has gone

I’m still all alone

How could this be?

You’re not here with me

You never said goodbye

Someone tell me why

Did you have to go?

And leave my world

so cold?

Kozhikode: He was the, and still continues to be the artist who tops the chart list posthumously. He continues to remain the most loved, most discussed and most imitated artist till date. Despite being at the heart of some of the worst controversies the world ever saw, for Michael Jackson fans, this is the fifth year of loneliness from the day their king left the world without saying goodbye!

June 25 was the fifth death anniversary of this legend pop singer, who conquered the hearts of crores of people around the world with his marvellous songs and out-of-the-world dance moves.

The entire world is observing his death anniversary in different ways. Kozhikode too has joined in to show its love and respect for this great artist who passed away too soon. It is the artists’ group called fd’s gallery that has come forward to conduct an art exhibition as a tribute to the king of pop.

They have exhibited around 20 gorgeous paintings, all of which uniquely express Michael Jackson alone. Shargeeth, Jain and Irfan are the three artists behind this expo. ”I am a big fan of Michael Jackson. I was already planning  an exhibition as a tribute to MJ. And I chose his death anniversary as an occasion for that,” says Irfan, who has drawn the majority of pictures at the exhibition. The moves, the action and the gestures which are all unique to MJ, have been captured in oil paint, charcoal and acrylic paint for portraying.

This is their first art exhibition and Irfan claims that this is the first art exhibition in Kerala, being organised in memory of Michael Jackson. Actor Biyon inaugurated the exhibition. The inauguration was accomplished in ‘Jackson style.’ Biyon shot the glitter papers to the canvas, which already sketched Jackson’s picture with invisible gum, and it made Jackson’s colourful portrait on the canvas with glitters. This reminded most of them of how MJ used to use ‘glitter shoots’ and showers commonly in his music videos and during live performances.  The expo will go on at the Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery  till June 29.


Read more: http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/The-King-of-Pop-Remembered-in-a-Colourful-Way/2014/06/27/article2301840.ece