vintage 2009


Michael Jackson photographed by Jim McCrary, 1979.

By the late 1970s, McCrary was photographing a wider range of younger artists, including ones he was not overly familiar with. One of those was Michael Jackson, whom he was tasked with shooting for the cover of his “Off the Wall” album. As the session was about to start, McCrary changed the channel on a nearby radio, even though the song playing was Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.”

“Jim did not know Michael’s music and changed the radio station,” his niece Colleen Pollard, who was tasked with dancing with Jackson to loosen him up, told the LA Times. “I yelled, ‘No, that’s his song.’ The looks on Michael’s face and his manager’s were priceless.”

Jackson did not use any of the images and Pollard noted that this was one of the reasons McCrary left rock photography. “He said he just didn’t feel connected with the bands anymore,” she said.

Move through transformation, out and in.
What is the deepest loss that you have suffered?
If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.

In this immeasurable darkness, be the power
that rounds your senses in their magic ring,
the sense of their mysterious encounter.

And if the earthly no longer knows your name,
whisper to the silent earth: I’m flowing.
To the flashing water say: I am.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from “Sonnet XXIX,” in Duino Elegies & The Sonnets To Orpheus, trans. Stephen Mitchell (Vintage, 2009)

A god can do it. But will you tell me how
a man can enter through the lyre’s strings?
Our mind is split. And at the shadowed crossing
of heart-roads, there is no temple for Apollo.

Song, as you have taught it, is not desire,
not wooing any grace that can be achieved;
song is reality. Simple, for a god.
But when can we be real? When does he pour

the earth, the stars, into us? Young man,
it is not your loving, even if your mouth
was forced wide open by your own voice—learn

to forget that passionate music. It will end.
True singing is a different breath, about
nothing. A gust inside the god. A wind.

Rainer Maria Rilke, “Sonnet I.III,” in Duino Elegies & The Sonnets To Orpheus, trans. Stephen Mitchell (Vintage, 2009)