The Human Face as Art
by Kaleem Raja
This image of Jackson has always captured my imagination.
It was the sleeve cover of the first comeback single after 5 years of silence following the seismic success of the musical juggernaut that was the Thriller album. Jackson had clearly had further cosmetic enhancements in his years of reclusiveness and isolation.
And this photograph, as well as the opening shot of the Bad video, was a marketing launchpad to reveal Jackson's new face to the waiting world. His stony glare directly into the camera lense is almost quite defiant and confrontational.
This is life imitating art - namely, sculpture. The chiselled lips and chin, the hollowed cheeks and jutting cheekbones, the refined nose, the smooth polished texture of his skin and the pallid complexion vivdly projected through black and white photography portray Jackson as a sculptor, his face a malleable work of art.
He looks achingly beautiful, especially for a man. And simultaneously he looks fey and untouchable. It would be the beginning of the physical disintegration the world watched aghast in slow motion over two decades and came to expect from Jackson, but never really to accept.
What Jackson hadn't fathomed was that when life imitates art, the results are not always beautiful, but rather grotesque. It is fair to say that the general consensus is that Jackson somewhat disfigured himself over time through his fixation on plastic surgery and self alteration.
It is natural and healthy to alter your mind through the acquisition of knowledge. But to alter your self physically against the tide of time and genetics, is unnatural and ergo the outcomes will also always be unnatural. It is only nature that can mould us like blocks of stone or clay through evolution and DNA. For us to do it, is to play god; and that has never ended well for humanity....