Home Music Music Lists

Michael Jackson: Intimate Photos From the King of Pop’s Teenage Years

Amazing vintage pics of Jackson and his brothers from the lens of Jim Britt

Michael Jackson

Jim Britt Courtesy of Rock Paper Photo

Jim Britt had just signed as Motown's art director and photographer in 1972 when started shooting photos of Michael Jackson and his brothers. "I had a real nice rapport with Michael from the beginning," he says. "He was a good kid. So many people have tried to glean from me that maybe he was having an unhappy childhood, and there's no way in the world I ever saw that." Britt took tons of photos of Jackson throughout the 1970s. As we approach the five-year anniverary of the King of Pop's death, we asked him to reflect on some of his most memorable images. 

Michael Jackson

Jim Britt Courtesy of Rock Paper Photo

Bringing It All Back Home

"This is just a candid shot at the family's house in Encino. It actually ended up being used on the back of the Ben album. Their house wasn't ostentatious at all. It was pretty much just a family home for people who were making quite a lot of money. It was nothing that would blow you away."

Michael Jackson

Jim Britt Courtesy of Rock Paper Photo

Little Tramp

"This is his drawing room at the family's house. It was filled with his paintings and drawings. We had a nice conversation and he'd show me his stuff. The drawing there is of Charlie Chaplin. He was a big fan and he even dressed up like him at one time."

Michael Jackson

Jim Britt Courtesy of Rock Paper Photo

Stepping Into the Foreground

"I was putting a wide-angle lens on my camera right before I took this photo. It made the camera look huge and Michael came over and asked, 'What's that lens you've got on there?' I explained that it was a wide-angle lens. I was down on my knees to change the lens, so we were about the same height, and I nabbed this picture. You can see his brothers in the background."

Michael Jackson

Jim Britt Courtesy of Rock Paper Photo

First Moonwalk

"We're at a park in Beverly Hills here and this pond was cut into four sections. There was a little wall dividing two sections of the pond and Michael walked out on that. He started to dance and it was really one of the first precursors of the moonwalk."

Michael Jackson

Jim Britt Courtesy of Rock Paper Photo

Brothers United

"My photo sessions with Michael often began with all his brothers, and then I'd shoot with Michael and Jermaine separately because they made solo albums. I'd usually shoot the album covers in color and then the publicity shots in black and white. I don't know why they're all looking up in this photo. I probably just said to look up because the light was better that way."

Michael Jackson

Jim Britt Courtesy of Rock Paper Photo

Wanna Be Ridin’ Somethin’

"I was at the house and I saw Michael riding his bike. I said, 'Hey, let's do some pictures with that.' This was for the Ben sessions as well. I never saw Michael after 1975. I was really surprised by how his look changed over the years. When Off the Wall came out he looked like a grown-up Michael that I knew. But how he started to look after that was just astounding to me, quite a surprise."

Show Comments