My sister text me to inform me of Steve Jobs passing and I immediately went on my iPhone to check if it was true. Unfortunately, "the reports of (his) death (had not been) greatly exaggerated" as they had last time and we indeed lost an American visionary. As many others, I wanted to somehow acknowledge my appreciation for his leadership, craftsmanship, and ingenuity. To be anecdotal, it took me back to the summer of 2007 and my first paid photo internship at the Palo Alto Weekly. I had just purchased my first Mac and a copy of photoshop and I dove head first into what would turn out to be an incredible summer working under Norbert von der Groeben.
Norbert sent me to the downtown Palo Alto Apple store to cover the release of the iPhone.
As they let in a handful of people at a time, in walks Steve Jobs, smiling, ever so casually in his signature black mock turtleneck. AP photographer Paul Sakuma called Norbert, flying down HWY 101, trying to get back to Palo Alto because he had heard Steve Jobs was there. AP had photographers staked out at the San Francisco store and the New York store, assuming Jobs would make an appearance there. But no, he instead strolled into his local Apple store.
Jobs came and left within a matter of minutes and AP ended up picking up my photo which was published places including the Boston Globe. Though the image wasn't anything to write home about, the experience certainly was as my parents photocopied the story and saved for me. In whole, my internship at the Weekly helped me confirm and believe that photography was something I could/wanted to seriously pursue.
His contributions to electronics, personal computers, the way we listen to music, watch TV and movies, read books, and view images have had a profound impact on the world. On a much smaller scale, the products he helped create have played a critical role in my ability to live my dream.
I am saddened for his family, and saddened for the world, because I know he had so much more to give. I am grateful to those few minutes in the presence of his genius, that will live on in the products he created. From the days when iPod was something I had heard of but didn't understand, simply dressing up with styrofoam made to look like an iPod and shoe strings made to look like earbuds with my roommate Lina, to being an Apple product faithful who would likely feel completely lost without my iPhone, thank you Steve Jobs!