Elon Musk's Atlantic Cover Story by Joe Pugliese
The Atlantic sent Joe Pugliese to SpaceX for its Technology Issue, where he photographed CEO and CTO Elon Musk.
"He is a maverick," Pugliese said of Musk, also CEO of Tesla Motors and cofounder of PayPal. "During the shoot, he was intensely focused and gave us the exact amount of time allotted." For the cover image, Pugliese set up a studio at SpaceX and handed Musk a sextant. "But then, I wanted to depict everything he's doing by showing the facility, the rockets, and incorporating Tesla – headquartered in the next warehouse over," he explained. "I asked if a Tesla car could be brought into SpaceX; it was one of those requests that could be ridiculous, though you never know, and the staff said it was no problem. And they brought over Elon's own car ... it says 'The Founder' on the back ... and tossed the keys to my team so we could reposition it."
Pugliese's lights were placed on the ladders leading up to the half-built rockets in the background. "Again, we never imagined getting close to any of this," he remarked. "I expected more bureaucratic red tape; however, because it's a private company, SpaceX follows a different set of rules. We were welcomed guests."
"It's clear that Elon is going to be remembered for his inventions and his influence in the technology world for generations to come," Pugliese added. "And one of the most important things to me as a portrait photographer is to capture the most important people of our time."