Behind the Cover: Steve Jobs

Photograph by Norman Seeff (Background digitally removed.)
Photograph by Norman Seeff (Background digitally removed.)
An image of Steve Jobs in his living room in Woodside, Ca., February 1984.

I was commissioned to do a story about the young Apple team, and at the same time, a visual session with Steve Jobs. What was really remarkable was getting into the corporate offices. It was completely what I would call anti-corporate. The creative team was this large extended family—incredibly energized and enthusiastic. People seemed to relate to each other with a level of informality that was sort of extraordinary. Steve would walk in, and I would see him in the background like this benevolent father—the first thing I got from him was that he was not getting involved at all in the shoot. He was watching very intently to see what was going on but didn’t have a controlling hand in the thing.

We were just sitting, talking about creativity and everyday stuff in his living room. I was beginning to build a level of intimacy with him, and then he rushed off, and came back in and plopped down in that pose. He spontaneously sat down with a Macintosh in his lap. I got the shot the first time. We did do a few more shots later on, and he even did a few yoga poses—he lifted his leg and put it over his shoulder—and I just thought we were two guys hanging out, chatting away, and enjoying the relationship. It wasn’t like there was a conceptualization here—this was completely off the cuff, spontaneity that we never thought would become a magazine image.

Steve had a sense of humor and was very curious and appreciative of creativity in other people. I found him completely open and himself. I didn’t pick up any arrogance or superiority—he was just being himself, having a great time. It felt like, when we were hanging out, chatting in that lounge, that we were old time buddies, without any hierarchical relationship. As a photographer, I do give direction, but Steve was up for doing anything. We ended up lying on the ground, drinking beer and the images created themselves.

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CARNIVORE’S DILEMMA PERMITTED USE: This image may be downloaded or is otherwise provided at no charge for one-time use for coverage or promotion of National Geographic magazine dated November 2014 and exclusively in conjunction thereof. No copying, distribution or archiving permitted. Sublicensing, sale or resale is prohibited. REQUIRED CREDIT AND CAPTION: All image uses must bear the copyright notice and be properly credited to the relevant photographer, as shown in this metadata, and must be accompanied by a caption, which makes reference to NGM. Any uses in which the image appears without proper copyright notice, photographer credit and a caption referencing NGM are subject to paid licensing. Mandatory usage requirements:1. Include mandatory photo credit with each image © Brian Finke/National Geographic2. Show the November cover of National Geographic somewhere in the post (credit: National Geographic) unless using only one image - you do not have to show the cover3. Provide a prominent link to: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/meat/4. Mention that the images are from "the November issue of National Geographic magazine”Beef is big in Texas. Last year in the state, ten times as many calves were born, 3.85 million, as human babies.At the Big Texan in Amarillo—which offers free rides in a longhorn limo—you get your 72-ounce steak for free ifyou finish it in under an hour, along with the shrimp cocktail, the baked potato, the salad, and the roll.

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