I’ve been pumped ever since the news broke about this new documentary feature. Michael: The Last Photo Shoots, a project directed by Craig Williams, promises to be a fascinating glimpse into Michael’s 2007 photo shoots for Vogue and Ebony-not to mention a feast for the eyes.
Read more about the project here:
And judging by the adorable, rare behind the scenes clips that have already been made available, fans will soon have yet one more gem to add alongside This Is It and Spike Lee’s Bad 25. And, more importantly, documentaries like this are adding, piece by piece, to the reconstruction and rediscovery of Michael Jackson’s image and artistry that has been ongoing since 2009.
Judging by the title and content, there may not be much to learn that is new about Michael Jackson the musical artist here. But this documentary may well serve another purpose that is just as important, and just as crucial to the rehabilitation of Michael’s image. This documentary marks an important milestone as a celebration of Michael’s mature beauty, model looks, and sexuality-yes, a celebration of Michael’s beauty, post-surgery, post-vitiligo, and post the trauma of 2005. It was 2007, the height of the “Wacko Jacko” era, when the tabloid caricature that had been created of Michael Jackson-the “freak with the mutilated face and no nose”-was the only image most were familiar with. To be sure, I think that the idea of Michael Jackson having participated in a series of high profile modeling shoots as recently as 2007 might seem hard to believe to a generation raised on the notion that this was a man who had supposedly spent his last decade as a “self-mutilated freak.” I know those photos were a revelation to me when I first discovered them, and served as an important milestone in introducing me to the beauty of mature Michael. It was also the beginning of my education into the media conspiracy that had determined to sell us on a lie.
Fans, of course, know all about these photos. But the reason why this documentary just may be of vital importance is that it finally allows the public at large, for perhaps the first time, a chance to see Michael’s mature looks and appearance cast in a new mold. Judging by what I have seen from these clips, this is certainly not Michael Jackson The Caricature. The clips utilized, as well as the photos, celebrate Michael as a photogenic artist and as a sensual man who is very confident in his own skin. To see Michael in his maturity being celebrated as a photo subject worthy of serious study and appreciation is, for sure, going to be an eye opening revelation for many. In my estimation, it’s something long overdue.
I half suspect, of course, that we’ll still see our share of snarky reviews. The media is a tough and bullheaded lot. After having invested years into convincing the public that Michael Jackson in any era post Thriller was a freak, they aren’t going to give up the ghost so easily.
But the clips speak for themselves, loud and clear.
Contrary to popular myth, Michael Jackson was not a cute youth who grew into a wreck of a human being. He was a cute but somewhat shy and akward youth who blossomed into a ripe, confident man full of swag. And, as true in 2007 as it had been in 1982, he was still an artist in complete control of what he wanted-and how he wanted to look.
I have only seen the clips, but it’s enough to convince me that Michael: The Last Photo Shoots is going to be a treasure.
And, just maybe, the start of a long overdue reassessment of Michael Jackson as a man who never ceased to be beautiful, but instead, became even moreso in his final years.
For those who would like to read more on the topic of Michael’s mature beauty, check out my article from February 2012, Why I Love The Mature Face of Michael, which continues to be one of the most popular articles I have ever done for this website (apparently, I am not alone in my assessment!):