‘I was Michael Jackson’s personal photographer’

06 June 2018

The RPS Journal

He was Michael Jackson’s chosen photographer for 10 years. Now Todd Gray looks back on his first meeting with the shy youngster – and Jackson's later struggles with racial identity.

‘I had gone to photograph him doing a Disney special,’ remembers Gray. ‘It was lunchtime and Michael said: “I want to hit some rides, Todd.” I grabbed my camera and he said: “No, no. Don’t bring your camera.”’ So Gray set it down, and that made all the difference.

‘I reconnected with my 12-year-old self. I just screamed on the rides with him, and mirrored his personality, which I think a lot of good photographers do. You mirror your subject. It makes them relax.’

Gray’s work is exhibited as part of Michael Jackson: On the Wall, at the National Portrait Gallery, London. 

Read more of Teddy Jamieson's interview with Todd Gray in the June 2018 issue of The RPS Journal. If you are not a member of The Royal Photographic Society and would like to receive The Journal each month please click here to join.

 

 

Top picture copyright: Portrait of Michael Jackson by Todd Gray

Image above copyright: Cover photograph The Beautification by David LaChapelle