Turns out that amongst photographers, Steve Jobs was notorious for being a “nightmare subject,” to the point where it was a “joke” within the industry — despite being one of the most powerful leaders in the world.
PDN spoke to various photographers who worked with Jobs over the years, with one ‘tog, Ed Kashi, recalling a time that “there was one time I had to get a picture with him and Ross Perot [who ran for US presidency in 1992 and 1996] and when Jobs acted up Perot turned to him and like a stern parent said ‘Steve, Grow up!!’”
So what was Jobs’s crime? It’s not like he wasn’t photogenic, in his iconic black turtleneck and round glasses. According to snapper Mercer McLeod, it was because he liked to stage-direct everything, from moving the lights around, to phoning the publication’s art director to say he “wanted to do something different.” Like in business, Jobs employed a very focused approach to how he was portrayed — “he had such a thing for control like nobody I’ve ever seen,” said McLeod.
Sometimes that control went too far, with another snapper, Doug Menuez, telling PDN of a time when Jobs wasn’t happy with a shoot, saying “‘this is the stupidest fucking idea that I’ve ever seen.’ Right in my face, like 5 or 6 inches away…I felt like I was 10 years old. He went off on a tirade.”
Funnily enough, the photograph that still adorns Apple’s website now in tribute to Jobs (pictured), was shot on film in 2006. Albert Watson, commissioned by Fortune, had an enlightening chat with Jobs about photography, with Jobs apparently being surprised Watson was still shooting film. When asked, Watson said “I don’t feel like digital is quite here yet,” with Jobs agreeing, and then adding “but we’ll get there.” The shot was Jobs’s favourite of all time, reportedly. [PDN via @Photocritic]