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Platon

dudler

Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Platon

29 May 2020 7:57AM   Views : 272 Unique : 146

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I’ve had an exciting week of discovery, photographically. I’ve managed not to buy a lens I rather fancy (though this may be a temporary condition). But the main thing is that I’ve picked up some new ideas, and have found a new photographer to look for.

I’d never heard of Platon until there was a short comment on one of Ivan Weiss’s portraits (I think) a few days ago, mentioning two photographers’ names (I’ve forgotten the other one, and can’t find the comment!)

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I looked him up, and watched a four-minute YouTube clip about him, which I mentioned here a couple of days ago, and AltImages told me about a 45-minute Netflix documentary, which I watched the same day.

OK, Platon is Greek-born, raised in Britain, lives in the USA, photographs the rich and famous. He’s published three books of stunning portraits. He always shoots on film (so a good subject for Film Friday), using a very limited range of cameras and lenses. And it seems that he can see into the minds of his sitters, into their souls.

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He talks to people. He researches them beforehand, but the heart of what he does that you and I don’t is that he is primarily seeking to learn something from each sitter. There’s a connection, there’s contact, and that lets – sometimes makes – his subjects open up. Go and look at his pictures, and you’ll see it immediately.

Things I brought away from the documentary include that he appreciates technicalities, and that his team work the negatives he produces hard: they are by no means straight darkroom prints, but film negatives that have been wrung of every drop of quality and character.

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He works close in, often with a wideangle lens, just like you’re supposed not to, and he draws parallels with Greek Orthodox icons in terms of the simplicity of his images. A difference is that limbs are often beautifully, frame-fillingly and expressively arranged. He is severely dyslexic, but makes up for this with a degree of empathy that I am in awe of. But then, I’ve never been beaten to a pulp in London by someone calling me a ‘bloody foreigner’ as he was in his teens: he understands hurt.

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His rule is to simplify, not to complicate: and the connection with the sitter is unbroken because he is absolutely on top of the technical side, and there are no cameraback images to chimp. My wife, watching the documentary (as I rewatched it) commented that his subjects have the confidence to sit and look into the camera in a way that she cannot do (at least with me). That’s certainly true of many of them – but he makes the same connections with images of people he photographs for non-commercial projects. I think it’s him…

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For the first time, my fingers itch to take some new pictures, and see if I can work on portraits that are well inside the minimum ‘social distancing’ envelope… Apologies that the pictures here are not by Platon: just some close-in portraits of various models I’ve worked with. But close in, focussing – in both senses – on the eyes does give something extra.

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Comments


dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1665 England
29 May 2020 8:06AM
From the top: Niki Flynn (retired), pirate_maiden (ditto), Emi1, Joely, Jenni JJ, Miki Nightshade and Zenith - all those still working have portfolios in Purpleport.

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mistere Plus
7 6 3 England
29 May 2020 5:01PM
Thanks John. First things first...go and buy the lens, you know it'll only bug you until you do SmileSmileSmile (Don't tell Janet i said that Blush).
Platon. I will go and look at his work and watch the documentary. Finding the person behind the pose is a fascinating and rewarding
thing. If he can create that connection and that level of trust with all his subjects he must be very special.


chase Plus
14 1.6k 382 England
29 May 2020 6:07PM

Quote:His rule is to simplify, not to complicate

One of my failings sadly Sad
dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1665 England
30 May 2020 9:16AM
Dave, you need to know that Janet has specifically asked for a link to this blog, having found the programme interesting.

I'm not sure, but she may still be trying to get some insight into how my mind works... What I took from it compared with what she saw.

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