domingo, 11 de abril de 2010

Smile Like you mean it Mister Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi Photograph by Platon

Everyday, more and more people are getting used to watch their politicians being photographed in public acts shaking hands with each others, delivering a speech, greeting supporters and why not? They all like to walk on the red carpet to be honored by others counterparts.

That’s exactly what is expected to be seen in a official “welcome to our country” act. At this point of our history, there is no politicians who wouldn’t know in advance, what to do and what to expect in those events. They all see it coming from the moment they get out of their airplanes or out of the bulletproof cars. But what they didn’t see coming was Plato! Not the Greek philosopher, but the English photographer!

Well, Actually it`s Platon. A London photographer born in 1968, son of a English mother (an Art Historian) and a Greek father, an architect.

This guy, now a staff photographer at the New Yorker, has been working for a long time before the whole world met him for one of his most famous portraits of all. Back in 2007, Platon had the opportunity to photograph Vladimir Putin for Time Magazine`s person of the year cover, he made such a vivid and perhaps, inexpressive but solid portrait of Putin, that the image won the 1ª prize at 2008 world press photo contest and brought Platon the international recognition he deserved a long time ago.

Vladimir PutinPhotograph by Platon

But the story doesn’t end there. Last September, during the meeting of the United Nations in New York, USA, Platon knew that it was going to be a unique occasion to be able to photograph as many world leaders as he wanted to, or could do. All together in one place and one moment was an opportunity that doesn’t knock on your door twice, right? That being said, Platon himself said on a interview to Melissa Block that he set up a small Photo studio “Right outside the steps of the General Assembly green room, and each head of state had to pass me to go onto the stage and pass me when they came off the stage”.

Presidents Chavez, Muammar Qaddafi and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Photograph by Platon

As far as I know, this is the first photographer who is allowed to be at the United Nations General Assembly Hall, but it doesn’t mean it was a piece of cake to make this assignment, eh! According to his own words, the massive entourage of the President Ahmadinejad, was “really hardcore, rather intimidating, to say the least. But I was fascinated by his sort of almost naive spirit that came out of his face, and that's what I tried to capture”.

On the other hand, All Presidents were not nice to Platon, French President Sarkozy “was so rude to me and aggressive. It was a total shock to my system. I reached out my hand to shake his hand, and he sort of looked at my hand and refused to shake it. And then he looked at my studio set up and he said: (Foreign language spoken). And he walked off waving his hands in the air, shouting out loud: (Foreign language spoken)”.

Presidents Michelle Bachelet, Cristina Fernandez and Lula Da Silva Photograph by Platon

Platon´s project is entitled “Portraits of Power”, and you can enjoy the full collection of portraits in his website. But his work is not limited to photograph politicians. He has a huge range of portraits of music personalities, Movie actors, Artists, Sportsmen, and the list goes on as well as some documentary work in Colombia, Egypt, China and India.

Vladimir PutinPhotograph by Platon

If you want to know more about this photographer, here is an interesting interview by Spotlight, where he talks about egos, the differences of New York and London and also he says that “A good portrait is like a great song”.

For any of you guys, trying to figure out how Mister Platon is making his famous Portraits, I would say that to know the truth, you must ask or work to the master himself, but whether you are too shy or you don’t have the time, here is a video, created by the user ACjohnsonphoto from youtube, that explains a “theory” of how Platon makes it! It’s up to you to believe it or not.

Mister Platon is based in New York City, Where He lives with his Wife, daughter and son.

The man himself...Mister Platon

Thank you friends for reading this, take care of yourselves and see you on the road!

Jesus Rodríguez.

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