Jonathan Zufi is the curator and owner of the Shrine of Apple, a web-based museum with a single, slightly obsessive goal: to obtain one of every single Apple product ever produced, and display them all online as beautifully as possible.
Zufi wants to do for all the retro Apple stuff what modern bloggers (not unlike our very selves) do for every newly announced product.
If ever a website earned membership of the Cult of Mac, this is it.
Cult of Mac got in touch with Zufi to ask him a few questions about the project. Here’s what he said.
Cult of Mac: You say on your About page that you love Apple. But why? What’s the appeal for you?
Jonathan Zufi: I’ve been an Apple fan since early high school – I cut my teeth on 6802 assembler at high school and I’ve been using Apple products ever since – my first machine was an Apple IIc. Apple make such beautiful stuff and they always have. Even products that were considered commercial failures are beautiful to look at. More importantly, Apple is the one consumer electronic company with products that have (and leave) deep emotional connections to their owners, and it’s been that way ever since they launched the Macintosh. The beauty and simplicity of their product line is what appeals to me the most.
CoM: You also say you’re an avid collector. Can you give us an idea of the size of your collection so far? What’s the rarest item you have? What’s the item you’re most keen to get your hands on?
Zufi: I have over 500 individual products – I highlight the word ‘products’ as my collection does not comprise of ‘tsotchke’ like pens, pins, etc – so primarily hardware and software. I have been focusing on quality, always trying to acquire items in their original box (where I can) so that the photography can capture every aspect of the product – from packaging, documentation and supporting materials. Getting the original box is hard to do and often requires paying a premium. The rarest item I own would be an Apple prototype – it’s the Multiserver that was listed on eBay several months ago. I also have a Color Classic II in the original box which is definitely rare.
To me there are two types of rare items – production items and prototypes. Production – the rarest item appears to the an Apple Daisy Wheel printer. Prototypes are a whole other world, but the two items that I would love to get my hands on are the Twiggy Unifile Duo and the Lisa Cluster Controller.
CoM: Now, the Shrine itself: what was the thinking behind it. Would you call it a museum?
Zufi: When Apple launches a new product, you can see it in magnificent (retina) glory on their web site from every angle possible. Any angle not covered by Apple is more than covered by the blogosphere. My goal was to provide the same experience but for every product Apple has ever made, starting with the Apple 1 in 1976 and covering everything – from disk drives to printers, displays, adapters, etc. I wouldn’t call it a museum – I’m old school and I think that word should be reserved for physical displays. I would call it a reference and a place where people can go back in time and remember. I get a lot of emails from people who say thank you for the trip down memory lane.
CoM: Can people donate stuff to you? If so, how?
Zufi: We’ve had so many offers for donations. The funny thing is that most of the time we already have the items people want to donate. What is wonderful about the donations is that nearly all of the time, people just want their Mac to go to a ‘good home’ and not a trash heap (can anyone say that about a Sony or HP product?)
CoM: Your photography is fantastic. Are you doing it all yourself? What’s the setup you use (hardware and software)?
Zufi: Thanks! I have two cameras – a Canon EOS Rebel Xsi and a 5D Mark II with and EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM and EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS lens. I use a Manfrotto 220PSL Still Life Table which is lit by a trio light set from Alien Bees. Photoshop and LightRoom for post processing and touch ups, and lots and lots of cans of compressed air to clean off dusty Macs. I have taken the vast majority of photos myself, but occasionally I’ll call in an expert to help with something that is tricky, like the reflective back on an early iPod.
- Source Shrine of Apple
- Thanks Jonathan!