This week we caught up with Photography.Book.Now juror Platon for his take on photography and photo books. Platon is currently a staff photographer at the New Yorker, but has shot portrait, fashion and documentary work for the likes of Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Esquire and more. Sit back and take 5…
How and when did you get involved in photography?
I studied graphic design at Central St. Martins in London. Through graphics, I discovered my love for photography. I still think of photography as a form of design, dealing with positive and negative space on a page, but most importantly, adding in the human element. A good photograph has all these elements successfully working together.
Digital or film – which do you prefer?
I HATE digital photography. To shoot a digital file, for me, feels like I am operating with 50%, rather than the full spectrum that real film can offer. In my studio, we are doing such fascinating things, experimenting with the limits of tonality. There is absolutely no way a digital file can handle my current aesthetic.
What do you see as the future of photography books?
I think there is a huge future for photography books. In this digital age, where everything is downloaded onto your screen, we need something tangible and real. We must not underestimate our senses. A book is a real object that allows you to enjoy its content in a way that is much more stimulating than just looking at images on a screen. Machines are supposed to help us, not control us.
How has critiquing images changed how you look through the lens?
I think it’s essential to give back, and to support up-and-coming-photographers. The business is in dire need of new talent, and regeneration. I personally find it very inspiring to look at up-and-coming photographers’ portfolios. I do not believe in criticism for criticism’s sake. I believe in objective support and encouragement. As artists, we do our best work when we are confident, even if we are challenged to our core. For many years I have been hosting the Nutopia Forum, a salon type environment dedicated to nurturing new talent. I find this project completely inspiring and humbling. It keeps me on my toes, creatively, and I personally thrive on being surrounded by a new, positive, creative energy.
Who do you think is the most influential photographer of the 20th century?
Anyone who is serious about studying photography should appreciate that there is no such thing as one single influence in this medium. We are very fortunate to have a rich world of photographic history behind us, teaching us how to see and how to feel with a camera. For me, influence and inspiration is completely personal and subjective. Most of my ideas, in fact, come from architecture. I feel strongly that an eclectic inspiration pool is essential in moving forward. We must move on form the most obvious power players, and look to the future.
Big thanks to Platon for taking part in this installment of Take 5 Tuesday. For those of you itching to know & see more, check out his site here.