How a photog captured Steve Jobs’ piercing glare


Albert Watson's photo of Steve Jobs, right, is similar to a portrait of Jobs in his younger years.
Albert Watson's photo of Steve Jobs, right, is similar to a portrait of Jobs in his younger years.
Photo: Simon & Schuster

Put the late Steve Jobs in your mind and chances are the iconic photograph made by Scottish photographer Albert Watson comes to mind. It’s a daring glare into the lens, a hand on the chin creating a kind of pedestal for a brain that helped to usher in the age of personal computing.

Today is the sixth anniversary of Jobs passing from cancer and Watson’s story about the day in 2006 Jobs sat in front of his lens should bring a chuckle to those who still miss him or knew his mercurial nature firsthand.

In his biography of Jobs, Walter Isaacson wrote about the portrait session for his biography, but Watson tells it best in a 2014 interview for a promotional video for the camera company, Phase One.

Fortune magazine commissioned Watson to photograph some of the most powerful people in America and Jobs was on the list that included Condoleezza Rice, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

Isaacson wrote about how Jobs entered the room where Watson was set up and was immediately drawn to his 4 X 5 camera, impressed that he was still shooting on film. The famous photo was the cover of Isaacson’s book.

Watson wanted to create a direct and simple photograph to represent the simplicity of design and function of Apple devices.

Isaacson gave Jobs one instruction.

“I’d like you to think about your next project and think about how some people don’t want to let you do it,” Watson says in the video, which lives on YouTube. “And that’s where that look came from. He really did that.”

Later, Jobs saw an edit of the photos and immediately liked the now famous photo.

“He said, ‘This is going to be good and you don’t question me,’ ” Watson recalled. “He looked pretty iconic in that picture.”

Watson, an icon in his own right, has photographed some of the most famous people, from Alfred Hitchcock to David Bowie and Kate Moss. He has had photographs grace the cover of some of the most important magazine and for many years, traveled the world shooting fashion for the various Vogue editions.

Source: The Phoblographer