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August 30, 2021

See Rare Photos of a Young Michael Jackson in 1978, During a Photo Shoot on a Private Lake in Westlake Village

On a private lake in Westlake Village, Michael Jackson, not yet 19, was relaxed, smiling and polite as he and his brothers chatted on the dock and tooled around on an electric boat during a daylong photo shoot.

Having just left Motown and begun a new relationship with Epic Records, the Jackson 5 music group was preparing for the release of its first album on Epic, titled Destiny.

“They were very excited about a new level of their career, new opportunities,” photographer Gregg Cobarr recalled of the Jackson brothers and little sister Janet, making her public debut at the shoot on that warm summer day in August 1978.

Hired by Epic for the promotional shoot, Cobarr had done countless others like it for music industry clients including Columbia, Epic and Capitol Records, RCA, Curb and Warner Bros. For many years later, Cobarr still can recall details about the day, and about the very special young man he encountered in Michael Jackson.

“He had such a kind, sensitive, fun and charismatic nature,” Cobarr said. “It made a lasting impression.”

“We took a lot of photos that day. Some in color, some in black and white, and it was just a great day together. They were very professional and at the same time, they were able to be themselves. We took some really classic photos together that resonated with the time, and represented the class of The Jacksons. The photos were classy and so were they.”

A few of the photos from that day were used in promotional materials, but the vast majority never saw the light of day.

(Photos © Gregg Cobarr)


  1. Hmmm...was he related to the Michael Jackson who got famous? I wouldn't have even connected the two in my mind, except that girl at the end kind of looks like a black version of the famous Michael Jackson.

  2. Not even close to amusing.




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