The Michael Jacksons is a series of portraits of people who make a living or perform as Michael Jackson around Los Angeles and New York City, where I have lived and worked since Jackson’s death in 2009. The project is both an index of the refraction of Michael Jackson's public persona, and a look the exploration issues of fantasy, reality and representation as influenced by and filtered through cultural experience. Ultimately the project is a quest to photograph as many tribute artists, impersonators and lookalikes as I can from around the United States, and collect them together in an exhibit and book.
The Michael Jackson performers who are already included in my project, have been greatly influenced by Mr. Jackson’s music, performances, music videos - even his message of inclusion and love. For many, their lives unfolded and progressed with his music infused into the texture of it. Their personal histories are entwined with Mr. Jackson’s life and story in a way that impersonators thirty, twenty or even ten years from now will not, and therefore, we can assume they present a more visceral interpretation of him than their future counterparts.
In the month of May, I would like to travel to Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Colorado and Illinois to meet and photograph the tribute artists, impersonators and lookalikes who are living there for inclusion in my project. The trip will take about 10 to 14 days; I will travel by car and bring my camera (of course), lighting equipment and backdrop.
You can see some of the portraits that I've already taken for the project on my website: http://lorenaturner.com/mj.html . You can visit the project on its Facebook page, too - https://www.facebook.com/themichaeljacksons.
Leigh Messinger - In the studio, New York City
Sean Vezina - Rooftop in Hollywood, CA
Omar Rajpute - In and Out, Irvine, CA
Charles "Scooby" James - Party performances, Queens, NY
Jovan Rameau - Hollywood Boulevard
Three of the Michael Jacksons are featured on this week's episode of Studio 360, plus a slide show of some of the portraits already created for the project:
- (30 days)