Friday, August 26, 2011

Me and Steve Jobs, part III

After the buzz about Steve Jobs' NeXT Computer died down and the prospects were considerably dimmer the company relocated to a quieter part of Silicon Valley next to a boat dock in the Redwood Shores area of Redwood City.  NeXT's sleek two story headquarters no longer exuded energetic invention--rather, it had a library vibe.  I was given an assignment to shoot Jobs there.

Every photographer I knew, and ones I'd only heard about, had stories about long waits to photograph Steve Jobs.  I recall the story told to me of a photographer who flew in from New York to shoot Jobs at the Redwood Shores location only to be told after a long wait to come back the next day, and when he returned to shoot on the next day it was also cancelled after another long wait.  So in the back of my mind I was prepared to arrive on time and be ready to shoot at the agreed upon time, while still knowing the shoot may be seriously late or cancelled at the last minute.

As I selected my location and began to think about the prospects of Job's canceling the shoot and the trouble this would cause my magazine client, it occurred to me that if this were to be about to take place it might be wise to counter with a stripped-down extremely quick session that would smooth the way to an agreement.  Normally I would shoot using strobe lighting but that would necessitate waiting for the strobes to recycle or risk a last minute strobe failure wasting precious minutes.  I decided to use the hot modeling light built into the strobe head for my illumination instead of the flash.  It would prove useful.

The shoot was scheduled for 3pm, Jobs showed up 2 hours later.  He appeared tired and began to beg off, suggesting we do it again tomorrow.  In response I said that we could do that but it would probably involve the same amount of effort from him.  Rather, I proposed, since he was already here we dispense with it in 30 seconds.  This would also allow me to FedEx the raw film to meet the magazine deadline. The logic appealed to him.  I sat him  down and held my finger on the shutter release through a full roll of film using the camera's motor drive.  As promised it was 30 seconds.  He was happy, I was happy and the magazine need not be bothered with a missed deadline.

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