Leutwyler: Neverland Lost: A Portrait of Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's Glove - Thriller

Michael Jackson's Glove - Thriller

I recently joined Henry Leutwyler for dinner at his favorite Italian spot in NYC.  The dinner had been prompted by the NYC Ballet.  A few days earlier I was at the Ballet with my wife for a special performance.  We were awestruck by the portraits of the dancers hanging in the foyer of Lincoln Center.  My first thought was “Who shot these?”  We finally found the photo credit on the wall and were surprised to learn that they were shot by our good friend Henry Leutwyler.  My dinner with Henry was supposed to be all about his ballet shoot.  I wanted to hear the behind the scenes stories behind about coordinating and pulling off a shoot that mixes portrait and choreographed dance in such a magnificent way.  But Henry had so many projects going on that we barely had time to talk about the NYC Ballet shoot.

As I sat down at our table, he instantly presented me with a copy of his new book Neverland Lost: A Portrait of Michael Jackson.  The book is beautiful – from the cover to the printing to the images.  Famed German photo book publisher Stiedl did a fantastic job producing this beautiful work of art.  Foley Gallery in Chelsea, NYC will be showing a selection of the work from February 24- April 2, 2011 with an opening reception on Feb 24 at 6pm.  There are also shows in Moscow and Tokyo in the works.

Documenting important artifacts from our cultural experience is not new to Leutwyler.  His photograph of Andy Warhol’s paintbrush hangs in my living room.  His ethnographic portrayal of our shared experiences shows up throughout his personal work and sometimes even makes its way into his commercial work.

The Neverland project began as a quest to document the items that personified Jackson before they were either locked up in storage or scattered across the globe in the post-humus auction blitz.  Henry made two trips to California to photograph Michael Jackson’s personal items.  He sifted through thousands of items and curated his own view of the items that personified the legend.

Like a kid in a candy store, Leutwyler was allowed to dig through boxes and pry open  crates.  Moving quickly, positioning a ringflash, setting up quick and moving to the next stunning artifact.

Crates of Michael Jackson's Effects

Crates of Michael Jackson's Effects

Michael Jackson - Crown No. 1 - Henry Leutwyler

Michael Jackson - Crown No. 1

Michael Jackson's Shirt - Cover Image from Leutwyler Book

Michael Jackson's Shirt

Hollywood Walk of Fame Jacket 1984 - Michael Jackson

Hollywood Walk of Fame Jacket 1984 - Michael Jackson

About Henry Leutwyler:
Swiss born, Leutwyler is an internationally acclaimed and award winning photographer. A creative force in Paris for a decade, he moved to New York City in 1996, where he lives with his wife and two children. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Vogue, Vanity Fair and Esquire.

About Foley:
Foley Gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm. For more information or to request images, please contact the gallery at 212.244.9081 or via e-mail at info@foleygallery.com.    http://www.foleygallery.com/artists/artist_ins.php3?artist=54&press=i .  The exhibition will run from February 24th through April 2nd. There will be an opening reception and book signing on February 24th and an artist presentation and Q&A on March 17th.

About Steidl Publishers:  http://www.steidlville.com

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