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Lorena Turner's The Michael Jacksons Unveils King of Pop's Representers as a Rainbow of Colors

Lorena Turner's monograph, The Michael Jacksons, takes an in depth look at the life and work of Michael Jackson impersonators and tribute artists.
    LOS ANGELES, CA, January 16, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Photographer Lorena Turner has launched a pre-release of her book The Michael Jacksons, announced the book's publisher, Little Moth Press, today. The book documents over 35 different Michael Jackson impersonators and tribute artists, through portraiture, interviews and analysis aimed at exploring the lasting impact of Michael Jackson. Turner is the creator of photographic projects such as Made in China, Rising Rwanda and La Boquilla. Her work has exhibited both nationally and internationally and is held in private collections.

"It became clear to me that these people weren't so much honoring Michael Jackson as much as they were creating a hybrid identity through their representation of him," Turner said. "In other words, they were performing a convergence of their own identity with Michael Jackson's, and in doing that they were stand ins for the affection that people, their audience, had for the real performer. At the time this seemed significant and important, so the next logical step was to find and photograph as many performers as possible."

Turner first started shaping this project in the summer of 2009, when the public was still reeling from the sudden death of Michael Jackson. Having seen tribute artists perform at the memorial services for Jackson in both New York City and Los Angeles, she was struck by the range of ethnicities of the impersonators and tribute artists. She felt compelled to look at the performers' relationship to Michael Jackson as an artist whose career started in the Civil Rights era and was shaped by many firsts - including the first African American played in heavy rotation on MTV. Do the performers consider race as an aspect of their performance of Michael Jackson?

Part photo documentary and part ethnography, The Michael Jacksons tells of adversity and diversity, compassion and triumph in the world of impersonators and tribute artists. The Michael Jackson performers featured in the book are both male and female, from variety of socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds, and represent a wide range of ages. Together, though, they share the commonality of wanting to create a lifestyle, both personal and professional, which encompasses the life's work and worldview of Michael Jackson.

Lorena Turner received an MFA from the University of Oregon, studied sociology at The New School for Social Research in New York City and currently teaches photojournalism and documentary studies in the Communication Department at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Most recently, The Michael Jacksons book has been featured in Slate Magazine, The Daily Mail and Feature Shoot and is currently available for Pre-Order at The Michael Jacksons is slated for publication May 2014.

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Contact Information

Lorena Turner
Little Moth Press

Los Angeles, CA
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