Swiss photographer digs into pop king’s childhood

Good photography is like archeology, believes Henry Leutwyler – the photographer behind the unusual exhibition of Michael Jackson’s personal items and suits that have just gone on show in Moscow.

Leutwyler went to Michael Jackson’s estate – the legendary Neverland – to fulfill a magazine assignment: he had to photograph the iconic white glove. To his surprise, Leutwyler found much more than that.  

“Everything was packed up and prepared for an auction,” the photographer recalled. “We found thousands and thousands boxes. It was exciting in the beginning, but the more time went by, the sadder it became. Michael Jackson always complained he didn’t have a childhood. We all believe Neverland is based on ‘Peter Pan’. To rebuild a home to live as a child and to lose it again – it’s very sad. By the way, my favourite picture in the collection is the first edition of the book.”

Michael Jackson’s estate is not the first famous interior examined by Leutwyler’s camera. The photographer admits he has a particular interest in investigating lives of people he never knew.

“Many people I wanted to photograph were not here anymore – the likes of John Lennon and Alfred Hitchcock,” Leutwyler said. “So I thought that objects can also talk. It’s almost archeology. You become one of those guys digging in Egypt and finding something.”

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