Michael’s Photographer Reveals His Favourite Moments
Harrison Funk, who was Michael Jackson’s personal photographer for 30 years, reveals his favourite moments photographing Michael, in an interview with abc7 news.
Harrison Funk watched Michael evolve from a teen idol to a bona fide superstar. Michael became known as a perfectionist with a complex personality. “What genius isn’t complex?” Funk asked in the interview. “I would put him up there with Da Vinci and Michelangelo and Beethoven and Picasso.”
Funk was tasked with documenting the life of Michael and he told abc7 that Michael would ask him every night if he had “made magic.” “He couldn’t wait to see the pictures because he wanted to see the magic.”
Looking over albums of photographs, Funk pointed to the moments in which Michael performed in concerts with massive crowds.
“That was his overwhelming drive. To perform for people. His show was absolute perfection.”
Funk said that Michael always maintained a sense of wonder. “He knew the child within and he never wanted to lose that. That was part of the magic.”
In 1984 Michael received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Funk said it was a huge day for Michael as he was at the height of his career. But a defining moment in Michael’s career came when he moonwalked on stage at Wembley Stadium. Funk said Michael actually learned the move from Jeffrey Daniel, who was in the group Shalamar. Daniel had performed it on the British show ‘Top of the Pops,’ only he called it the backslide. Michael learned it, perfected it and re-branded it as the moonwalk. “When Michael came out with it, people were just blown away. I’ve never seen any other artist that got that response,” Funk said.
Another big moment for Michael was when he met Nelson Mandela. But, according to Funk, it was equally as big a moment for the world leader, who brought his entire family from South Africa just to meet Michael. Jackson and Mandela met in a penthouse in Beverly Hills along with actress Elizabeth Taylor. Funk explained that by the end of the day his photograph of the three icons had appeared in over two hundred newspapers.
“Michael was looking to change the world. He didn’t just record ‘We are the World’ or ‘Man in the Mirror.’ He recorded music because he wanted to make an impact on people,” Funk said.
On Michael’s death in 2009, Funk said; “It’s hard to articulate. I think the whole world changed. It was the end of an era.”