Skip to main content

Forgotten Michael Jackson photos could power the world, inventor says

By Alan Duke, CNN
  • Reginald Garcia just rediscovered his March 1978 photos of the Jackson 5
  • The images show Michael Jackson in an "awkward teenage stage," a collector says
  • Garcia is selling the photos to raise money for an energy-efficient motor invention
  • His "self-generating" motor creates more electricity than it uses, Garcia claims

Los Angeles (CNN) -- A Los Angeles inventor who photographed Michael Jackson 33 years ago hopes those images will now help launch an electric motor he claims could solve the world's energy problems.

Reginald Garcia will use cash from the sale of 130 unpublished Jackson photos to fund testing of the motor, which he claims generates more electricity than it uses. Garcia is in the process of getting the photos appraised and prepared for sale.

The photos show a 19-year-old Jackson and his brothers during a video shoot at a Hollywood studio in March 1978, before he began changing his appearance with surgery.

The Afro hair style and 1970s clothing show "a rare glance" of Jackson in an "awkward teenage stage," an image that he personally tried to bury in later years, according to a collector who sold photographs to the singer.

"If it was an image he didn't like, he was more likely to buy them than if they were images he did like," said Keya Morgan. "Were he alive now, I would definitely go to him and I'm sure he would want to buy them."

With Jackson gone, Morgan's Keya Gallery is buying the image copyrights and helping Reginald Garcia sell the original slides, prints and contact sheets that have been forgotten on his shelf for decades.

Garcia pulled the box of photos out of his closet last month when he was looking for ways to finance testing of his "self-generating" motor, Garcia said in a CNN interview this week.

"He was the greatest guy you could ever talk to," Garcia said of his day with Jackson.

Garcia was a student at California Tech and a freelance photographer when a friend of his sister's, who worked for CBS Records, asked him to take pictures of the Jacksons at Gower Studios in Hollywood, he said.

The color photos show the Jackson 5 dressed in blue tuxedos, singing on a soundstage.

The black-and-white images were taken during breaks in the video shoot, Garcia said.

"I sat him in front of a mirror and shot some photos, and I said 'act like you're reading a letter like you just got from your girl,'" he said. The result was a photo showing Jackson and his reflection in a dressing room mirror. Garcia said he only recently realized it echoes the singer's later hit "Man in the Mirror."

Garcia and business partner David Marohnic brought his photos and the prototype of his invention to CNN's Los Angeles bureau to demonstrate the engine and talk about their plans.

"What we're essentially looking for is trying to take the photos that Reggie took of Michael Jackson, his legacy, use those funds to try to take our prototype to the market and ultimately clean up the environment and use less greenhouse gases as a result of a motor that's very highly efficient," Mahronic said.

The motor buzzed as two voltage meters measured the energy going in and the power flowing out, back to the battery.

"It's generating more energy recharging the battery than it actually draws from the battery," Marohnic said.

Garcia reconfigured the brushes and rewound the copper in a standard motor "so it captures the negative electromagnetic field as it collapses, sends energy to a capacitor and recharges the battery," he said.

The sale of the Jackson photographs will allow them "to certify that the prototype does everything that we say it's going to do," Marohnic said.

"It's written in the stars," Garcia said. "We have a destiny of a greener earth, a door opening today that should lead us to this clean earth."

Featured Deal |