Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
Arno Bani is a lucky one. He has a bank safe full of photos of Michael Jackson. Unique photos, never shown. Photos he did himself.
Photo: AFP François Guillot
He just had to be patient and wait; wait ten years and be patient. Just after the death of Michael Jackson last summer, Bani realized that the rights have fallen back to him and that he will finally be able to sell his work: Twelve never released portraits of the pop legend together with 700 contact sheets of the shooting will go under the hammer in Paris on 13th of December. Pierre Berge & Associés, the auction house of Yves Saint-Laurent’s partner, will organize the auction.
He’s really a lucky one, Arno Bani, and he already was ten years ago when Jackson asked him to do a photo shooting for an album cover. Bani was 22 at this time and couldn’t believe his chance. But Jackson had seen his work in the Sunday Times’ Style magazine and really liked what he did. “He immediately understood that I was young”, recalls Bani in Paris Match magazine.
Bani was young and all the others where too, the make-up artist Topolino, the hairdresser, Seb Bascle who convinced Jackson to cut his hear very short. Jackson enjoyed working with this bunch of youngsters, theses guys that brought haute couture pieces for the shooting. It was the first time, Jackson was in heaven, but the entourage of the superstar very upset, all theses people who liked to control his image and who preferred to disguise him as a circus clown, as remembers Maïda Gregory-Boïïna, artistic director.
The photo was destined for the cover of his studio album “Invincible” and Jackson imagined himself as living God. A kind of pharaoh. Sony didn’t like it. “Invincible” was published with another cover. Too bad. But Bani is a lucky one. The auction of the twelve photos numbered 1 to 1 starts at 1000 Euros. But the price certainly will climb much, much higher, a moonwalk, I suppose.