Doug Menuez on photographing Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs. Photo by Doug Menuez.

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For his obituary of the great Steve Jobs yesterday, David Walker of PDN talked with photographers who had worked with the Apple iconoclast. It seems that Jobs “had a reputation among photographers for being a difficult subject,” writes Walker. “And not just run-of-the mill difficult, but the archetype of difficult.”

One of the photographers Walker spoke with is Doug Menuez. Excerpt:

Doug Menuez spent more time photographing Jobs than just about any other photographer, after Jobs agreed to let him document the development of the NeXT computer. Menuez had access to the labs and boardroom for three years.

“In all those years, Steve only screamed at me at the top of his lungs once,” Menuez recalls. It was in 1988, when Fortune hired Menuez to shoot a portrait of Jobs for the cover of the magazine. Menuez wanted to photograph him in the NeXT offices, on a staircase that Jobs had commissioned architect I.M Pei to design. Jobs arrived for the shoot, looked at what Menuez had in mind, “then [he] leaned in and says, ‘This is the stupidest fucking idea that I’ve ever seen.’ Right in my face, like  5 or 6 inches away,” Menuez says. “I felt like I was 10 years old. He went off on a tirade. He said, ‘You just want to sell magazines. ‘And I said, ‘And you want to sell computers.’ And at that he said, ‘OK,’ and sat down.

Menuez concludes, “ I’ve been in war zones, but I like to say that I became a man learning how to stand my ground with Steve.”

To read the rest of “Steve Jobs: Visionary, Inventor, and Very Challenging Photo Subject,” go here.

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