Francis Ford Coppola, director of Captain EO, teaches Michael how to salute:
“Every Friday, I’d buy him a present — something small and fun — and he’d be very excited about what it was. He was very sweet, but also very deliberate. He loved to learn and during rehearsal he had fun learning how to properly salute and do an about face. He got a kick out of being military. He reminded me of a kid — innocent, eager and joyful.”
“The most famous photographs I have done of Michael is the one with his shoes on point – a close up shot – it’s just above the ankles, his shoes just above the ankles. That photograph, it took me three weeks on the road to get that photograph because Michael would hit that pose at different points of the stage when he felt it. So I would talk to him and go ‘Michael, man’, – this is another thing – I pre-visualize the photograph. You have to see a picture in your head. After seeing Michael perform, you know which is the most iconic, you know which symbolizes him more and how individually new he is, is when he goes on point, when he goes on point with his shoes. That was in my head so I decided I’m going to capture that shot and I didn’t want it with his whole body, I only wanted the shoe. And I wanted you to feel the impact of the weight where as the show hit the floor, it was really important. That was in my head and I was going after a shot. If you’re shooting a performer you want to see what’s their signature move? What really distills and boils down their style? Then you want to say okay, what is the best position for me to capture that signature move? I pre-visualized it and had it in my head. I wanted to make a photograph that was really symbolic.” Todd Gray on his most iconic photo of Michael
“I got a call that Michael had personally asked me to come and photograph him while he was taping a TV special with Danny Kaye at Disneyland. Whenever the director would release him from the set to prepare the next shot Michael would grab my arm and say ‘Come on, let’s hit some rides’, and we’d run off ushered by Disney security through secret passageways, making certain we never waited in line. Michael, who was t21 at the time, loved Disneyland, and while sitting next to him on the rides I joined right in with his screams and laughter. We really had fun.
Not long after this job, I got another call from his manager saying that Michael had told him to hire only me when he needed a photographer. His manager asked, ‘What’s up with you and Michael?’ ‘We just get along, I guess’, I said. I asked the manager why Michael chose me and he said Michael told him, ‘I like Todd because he doesn’t talk much.’” Todd Gray
“I try to be loving, and I try to find love and see love in all things. I love nature, I love the forest. I love the grace, the gentleness, the easiness of how gentle nature is. It is just giving. I love that.” Michael Jackson