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An award-winning documentary photographer delivers a stunning visual history of the Silicon Valley technology boom, in which he was witness to key moments in the careers of Steve Jobs and more than seventy other leading innovators as they created today’s digital world.
An eye-opening chronicle of the Silicon Valley technology boom, capturing key moments in the careers of Steve Jobs and more than seventy other leading innovators as they created today’s digital world
In the spring of 1985, a technological revolution was under way in Silicon Valley, and documentary photographer Doug Menuez was there in search of a story—something big. At the same time, Steve Jobs was being forced out of his beloved Apple and starting over with a new company, NeXT Computer. His goal was to build a supercomputer with the power to transform education. Menuez had found his story: he proposed to photograph Jobs and his extraordinary team as they built this new computer, from conception to product launch.
In an amazing act of trust, Jobs granted Menuez unlimited access to the company, and, for the next three years, Menuez was able to get on film the spirit and substance of innovation through the day-to-day actions of the world’s top technology guru.
From there, the project expanded to include the most trailblazing companies in Silicon Valley, all of which granted Menuez the same complete access that Jobs had. Menuez photographed behind the scenes with John Warnock at Adobe, John Sculley at Apple, Bill Gates at Microsoft, John Doerr at Kleiner Perkins, Bill Joy at Sun Microsystems, Gordon Moore and Andy Grove at Intel, Marc Andreessen at Netscape, and more than seventy other leading companies and innovators. It would be fifteen years before Menuez stopped taking pictures, just as the dotcom bubble burst. An extraordinary era was coming to its close.
With his singular behind-the-scenes access to these notoriously insular companies, Menuez was present for moments of heartbreaking failure and unexpected success, moments that made history, and moments that revealed the everyday lives of the individuals who made it happen. This period of rapid, radical change would affect almost every aspect of our culture and our lives in ways both large and small and would also create more jobs and wealth than any other time in human history. And Doug Menuez was there, a witness to a revolution.
In more than a hundred photographs and accompanying commentary, Fearless Genius captures the human face of innovation and shows what it takes to transform powerful ideas into reality.
This photographic essay should not be as interesting as it is, a sentiment that Elliott Erwitt, who contributes the book's foreword, shares: "How does one visually communicate the creation and dynamics of world-altering concepts... the people who essentially just sit and think." In journalistic black and white, documentary photographer Menuez creates that visual narrative. The photos, accompanied by insightful captions, reveal the intense environment of Silicon Valley through contrasts: a photograph titled "Steve Jobs Pretending to Be Human" shows the subject contemplating a beach ball in a park; another portrays a high-powered executive delivering paperwork to colleagues while holding an infant on her shoulder; in a third, a group of factory workers wearing "bunny-suits" complete with helmets and booties do lunges during a group stretch. Sometimes faces tell the story of "Riding the Dot-Com Wave," other times it's objects: photos and stuffed animals on top of a computer monitor or empty take-out cartons. Menuez was given an all-access pass to Silicon Valley thanks to Jobs, who is one of several geek celebrities featured. The book, with an introduction by Kurt Andersen, will feel nostalgic for those who were a part of the action; for outsiders, it will both confirm and explode perceptions of what really took place during a strange and exciting time. B&w photos.