|Michael Jackson photographed by Harrison Funk in 1990|
Michael Jackson's personal photographer: "He didn't identify as one gender"
From The Guardian: Thomas Hobbs, Wed 20 Jun 2018
Harrison Funk spent three roller coaster decades capturing the pop legend’s extraordinary life. He reveals the stories behind his favorite shots, from hugs with Mandela to wielding a powder puff backstage.
"Me and Michael had our own language,” says Harrison Funk. “The buzzword was always the same. He would ask, ‘Harrison, can you make magic?’ Anything less wasn’t acceptable.” Funk was the photographer who got closer to Michael Jackson than any other, working with the singer from the late 1970's right up until his death in June 2009, witnessing and capturing his many changes, as the star rose to be the most famous person on the planet.
Jackson’s make-up routine, adds Funk, was also a sign of the singer’s gender fluidity: “It wasn’t so much femininity on Michael’s part as androgyny – he was fluid around gender. Michael had no interest in assigning a gender to anybody.” At that moment, he recalls, “he didn’t overtly identify as one particular gender”. However, when Jackson became a dad, his image changed to that “of father”, Funk says. “He became a strong man in that sense.”But was Jackson actually covering his face due to shyness?
“Maybe. But his shyness and introversion never hindered his ability to work with me as a photographer. Michael knew exactly what he wanted artistically, right up until probably the last two years of his life, where he got swayed by the wrong people and got in way over his head.”
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