But Menuez says that it was photographing Steve Jobs that had the biggest impact on his life.
“Steve was the most inspiring person I ever met. As a photojournalist, I like to hide behind my lens and capture other people’s moments,” Menuez told Business Insider. “He forced me to confront my own motivations, who I was.”
Menuez spent three years photographing Jobs at NeXT, the personal computing company he started after he was ousted from Apple in 1985. The photos were meant to be published in Life magazine.
“The photos were his idea,” Menuez said. “He knew he was a historical figure. I just showed up at the right place at the right time.”
The office environment at NeXT was intense, and Menuez says he felt burned out at the end of the project.
“They were constantly hiring absolutely brilliant people. Steve was constantly challenging, prodding people to work above their abilities. It was about inventing the impossible. If you were there, you signed up for the mission,” Menuez said. “Steve had a lot at risk here. The stakes were high. He wanted revenge. He was becoming a symbol of a whole new generation coming into the Valley.”
Having the trust of Jobs changed Menuez’s life.
“I wasn’t trying to be his friend, but just being in the room was amazing,” he said. “I would have followed him through fire.”
The photos were never published, since Jobs had decided Life magazine was no longer cool by the time the project was finished. The prints remained hidden away in boxes for years, until Menuez assembled his work from the period in a book called “Fearless Genius: The Digital Revolution in Silicon Valley,” which Atria Books published in June.