Henry Leutwyler lost in Neverland

Neverland Lost in Madrid by Henry Leutwyler

Last month some friends invited me to the opening of the exhibition Neverland Lost in Spain Media Gallery in Madrid Spain. The exhibition consists of a series of large photographs of objects that belonged to Michael Jackson by the photographer Henry Leutwyler. A few years ago these pictures were collected in a book and now some of them are set in Madrid until January 28.

Henry Leutwyler received a group of fans of Michael to tell us firsthand how the photographs were taken and what is the story behind the book. Although Henry never met Michael Jackson personally he spent several years trying to photograph the famous sequined glove for his famous collection of objects. After learning that Michael had left Neverland, he requested to photograph it as a part of the history of pop culture but received no response. Finally in February 2009 he was called to go to Neverland to photograph the glove before it went to auction along with other Michael’s belongings, but when he arrived in Los Angeles, Neverland had already been emptied and he was sent at a warehouse where some of the objects were stored.

Henry spent several days photographing items, excited to have the unique opportunity to photograph all these treasures and saddened by the condition of some of Michael’s belongings. “Because of this I felt an urge to shoot as many objects as I could. The idea that this was a collection that would eventually spread throughout the world was puzzling to me.” Luckily shortly after Michael could stop the auction and retrieve their belongings. “It is said that the Pharaohs built tombs to reveal their lives to future generations. Michael Jackson sacrificed his childhood to the calling of his musical gift. Neverland was the pyramid he constructed to a lost childhood.

Henry never wanted to get into the publishing world but after showing the photos to a friend, he convinced him that he had to publish a book. A very limited edition of the book was done and now it has become a collector’s item. He kindly signed one of the copies for me which is part of my collection since it went on sale. He said he preferred not to give interviews because the press tended to manipulate the responses at will.

Henry Leutwyler was born in Switzerland and is a self-taught photographer. Stubborn and unflappable, was rejected in one of the best photography schools in Switzerland, he was told to forget about photography literally.

Shortly afterwards he opened his own photo studio and later moved to New York. Today, his photos can be found in the pages of Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker and Esquire. He has photographed figures such of Michelle Obama, Julia Roberts, Tom Wolfe, Rihanna and Martin Scorsese, to name a few.

He also has spent several years taking photographs to items related to his heroes as the gun that killed John Lennon, the glasses and sandals worn by Gandhi, Charlie Chaplin’s cane, Alfred Hitchcock’s passport before becoming a U.S. citizen, the brushes that s\Andy Warhol used to paint his art works or several of Elvis Presley’s belongings. This is a documentation work and almost archaeological research in which you can learn more about the people who used these objects than looking to their portraits. To learn more about the work of Henry Leutwyler visit his website.

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Spain Media Gallery

C/ Hospital 10. Madrid

Hasta el 28 de enero de 2014
De lunes a viernes de 10.30 a 14.00 h. y de 16.00 a 19.00 h.;
sábados de 11.00 a 14.00 h.

Entrada gratuita.

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