Off the wall, the unseen Michael Jackson

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The Independent Online

In a life played out before the glare of cameras, Michael Jackson was among the most photographed figures of his generation. More than a year after his death, an unseen collection of portraits will throw new light on the former King of Pop.

The heavily styled images will be published in a new book, Michael Jackson: The Auction , before a sale of the work in Paris next month. The photographs were taken in 1999 by the 23-year-old French fashion photographer Arno Bani, who was summoned to a secret shoot near Paris.

"I had carte blanche," said Bani. "I was young but he was more of a kid than I was. He asked me to dream, to play with haute couture, it was like solving a puzzle."

The singer intended to use the photographs for his 2001 LP Invincible. After the shoot, Jackson telephoned Bani to say he "loved" the results, but the album was released without his pictures.