Shooting an Icon: Albert Watson’s Steve Jobs Portrait

Albert Watson is a world-famous portrait photographer. One of his most recognizable photos is one that very few people are not familiar with but far less know the story behind it. On this short video by Profoto, Watson tells how he captured the image of Apple’s former CEO, an image which became synonymous with his unique image after he passed away and Apple decided to place it on its site.

Capturing a complex man like Steve Jobs is not an easy task for even the best portrait photographer. Having only a single hour to do so is almost impossible. But when Watson was told just before the shoot that Jobs hats being photographed (or for that matter photographers) he decided on a bold (some would say crazy) idea – he will tell Jobs that he can make the picture work in only 30 min.

To do that Watson decided to go for a very simple type of portrait – he refers to it as a passport image. The only direction Watson gave jobs for the image was – lean forward and imagine that you are in a meeting and several people do not agree with you but you know you are right. Jobs immediately agreed and said – that’s easy – I do that all day.

This is how this simple yet iconic image was created, proving that making a historic image can be more in the expressed emotions than anything else.

You can watch more videos of interesting photographers on our photographer section here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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