Steve Jobs Poses For 1st Cover of Macworld, Then Changes Mind [Recollections]

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In Part 6 of his memoirs, Macworld founder David Bunnell recalls the magazine’s first cover shoot featuring Steve Jobs, who has a sudden, unexpected change of heart.

“Take a picture of this,” Steve said, holding up his middle finger. We stared in disbelief.

In mid-December I called Steve to ask him to pose for the cover of Macworld. He agreed but only if we hired a “really great” photographer and even then he could only give us a few moments of his precious time.

I tried reaching Annie Liebovitz, but besides being ridiculously expensive she was booked up. So, with Andrew’s help I found a fantastic young photographer, Will Mosgrove, who lived in nearby Marin. He was thrilled and right away agreed to do the shot.

When the appointed time came, Will carefully set up in a conference room at Apple. There were three Macs on a tabletop, each displayed a different screen image.

As envisioned, Steve would stand behind the table, his hands outstretched, leaning on the two outside machines. Andrew served as the stand-in to take Steve’s position until the lighting and all the other elements were just right.

Steve was called in only when everything was perfect. All we needed was to have him stand in position for 10 minutes and then he could go, just as he had requested. Of course, with Steve Jobs, you have to anticipate the unexpected.

Steve walked in dressed in a beautiful pinstriped, double-breasted suit with a white shirt and red tie. Right away, there was a problem–Steve didn’t like the images we had chosen for the Mac screens.

Aware that he might bolt any moment, Andrew and I worked feverishly to fix them–putting up exactly what Steve said he wanted. Meanwhile he stared at Mosgrove, and said, “Are you one of those type of photographers who takes dozens of photos hoping one of them will turn out okay?”

Will just looked at him and shrugged.

“Take a picture of this,” Steve said, holding up his middle finger. We stared in disbelief. Someone must have keyed his Mercedes again, I remember thinking.

Crazy as it was, the “computer gods” were with us that day. Somehow we got our Steve Jobs photo and it is a classic, but if I wasn’t a nimble thinker it would never have appeared. A couple weeks after the photo shoot, Steve called to say, “Gee, David, I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want to be on the cover of Macworld.”

“Too late,” I lied, “the cover is already at the printer and we can’t change it.”

In reality, a few pages were at the printer, but not the cover, and we could have changed it if we really wanted to, which, of course, we didn’t.

And as you can see for yourself, it was just right for the time.

Part 1: Meeting Steve
Part 2: Seeing the Macintosh for the Very First Time
Part 3: We Met the REAL Steve Jobs
Part 4: Steve Jobs Tells Us to “Belly Up to the Bar”
Part 5: Steve Comes Up with a Really Weird Ad
Part 6: Steve Poses for the First Cover of Macworld
Part 7: Andrew Fluegelman Urges Apple to Delay the Introduction
Part 8: Pat McGovern Meets with Steve, the Deal is Done.
Part 9: Steve is F*cking Great!
Part 10: Steve Thumbs his Nose at the Apple II
Part 11: The Macintosh Speaks For Itself (Literally)…
Part 12: The Fat Mac Saves the Day
Part 13: Steve Brings Tina to the Macworld Dinner Party
Part 14: Ella Fitzgerald Sings Happy Birthday to Steve
Part 15: Steve’s NeXT Big Thing

Follow me on Twitter @davbunnell

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  • percontationmark

    Bunnell: That is not a double-breasted suit. Careless writing on your part, and an affront to the compulsively detail-oriented man whose memory you invoke. Before you write off your oversight as insignificant, think about the cultural connotations of the double-breasted suit, and how they are completely antithetical to Jobs’ ethos. A writer, no matter how widely published or successful, is still obligated to pay attention to his words, especially when assuming the the rights and responsibilities of shaping someone else’s legacy.