ON LOCATION: Photographer Stephen Hayes was employed to the trusted and intimate role of filming Steve Jobs' family.
ON LOCATION: Photographer Stephen Hayes was employed to the trusted and intimate role of filming Steve Jobs' family.

Noosa photographer tells what Steve Jobs was really like

I WORKED for Steve Jobs.

Not many people can say that, but Noosa International Film Festival curator Stephen Hayes most definitely can.

And no, he wasn't one of a thousand Apple employees.

Hayes was employed to the trusted and intimate role of filming Steve Jobs' family.

He can also add that he took photos of Britain's Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher and several famous Irish rock bands.

But, irritatingly, he doesn't identify which.

Hayes was trained as a cinematographer, working with Channel 7 in Sydney before the rest of the world called.

He moved to Dublin and London and was contracted to the BBC, CNN, RTE (Ireland Broadcasting Corp) and ERT (Greek TV).

"This opened up doors I could never have imagined", Hayes said.

And it led to a position with Anner Films in Dublin where he shot "high end commercials and rock clips for a number of Irish rock band sensations, while also filming celebrities and European Heads of State".

It was towards the end of 2000, while working in America, that Hayes bumped into Steve Job's wife, Laurene Powell.

"I was invited to film a charity fundraiser in Palo Alto, California - the epicentre of the Silicon Valley - when I met and was later invited to film Laurene Powell.

"She appeared to be an enthusiastic and generous participant to many charity organisations," Hayes said.

"To me, she was surprisingly down to earth, with the friendliest of smiles".

And then he received the ultimate coup, he was invited to film Steve Jobs' family, in secret.

He fondly recalled the "hushed location shoots in the security of Jobs' home town, Palo Alto, California".

"All film shoot details were organized via Laurene, who was understandably fiercely protective of her children, with security in public places, albeit discrete, always a consideration," he said.

"As an outsider working in Palo Alto, it's an almost surreal experience.

"It's all very contained; for instance, within a few blocks of where Steve Jobs lived, are the estates of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google.

"The likes of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, or Jerry Yang and David Filo, founders of Yahoo, also have their homes just a stone's throw away.

"Stanford University seems to act as an IT incubator, with many of the area's tech' successes either studying, lecturing or meeting there".

But as for Jobs himself, while many have depicted him as workaholic, Hayes remembered a "kind family man, quietly involved in his community"

"I remember during Halloween at his home, Steve, Laurene and friends would put up magical decorations around their yard.

"Local kids would arrive, often oblivious to who Steve Jobs was and hold out their bags for sweets.

"They were instead rewarded with fruit, more often apples, of course, and other healthy treats.

"It seemed due to his dizzying career achievements, he was starved of time from, by far the biggest and proudest creation of his life, his family.

"It's nice to know our images and films are still being enjoyed by Laurene and family at the Jobs'."

After returning to Australia, Hayes founded 'Yes Creative Crew' in Noosa.

It is a "boutique image making house, delivering unique forms of personal and commercial branding".

And he also has the task of ensuring the inaugural Noosa International Film Festival, this weekend, grows to become on of Australia's best.

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