Platon (Platon Rivellis)
[Photographer, b. 1968, London, lives in New York.]
When I was shooting Karl Rove, I said to him, “Mr. Rove, I’m just a guy from England trying to make it in America. Can you give me any advice?” and he said to me, “Sonny, if you’re shooting me, you’ve already made it.”
Mr. President, can you show me the love? (Direction to Bill Clinton resulting an infamous low-angled “crotch-shot” Esquire magazine cover.)
When I graduated from college, I was working for gritty magazines with no budget and we were reacting against the gloss of the American photographers, where everything was very glamorous and everything was perfectly retouched. Growing up in London, it was always raining, we were very poor, we never saw any celebrities. So I started shooting that way.
... there’s always this moment where it’s all down to me. The bullshit goes out the window, the glamour goes out the window, and I’ve got to deliver. I’ve got to push myself to confront this person and confront them in a very truthful way. I go to this lonely place where I pace up and down, getting my head straight, checking that I’m focused on all my technical stuff, and opening my mind to be ready for anything this person’s going to throw at me. After it’s over, then the bullshit comes back and you can brag about it.
During a photo shoot, we go through such a journey together, the sitter and I, and at the end of it there’s this openness, honesty, and humility that is not there at the beginning. And I thought, God what a waste.