FEW photographers find themselves grasping Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by the hand, facing down Robert Mugabe or eliciting a grin from Binyamin Netanyahu–all within a 72-hour period, no less. Platon, a London-raised and New York-based photographer, is the keen eye behind “Power: Portraits of World Leaders” (Chronicle Books), a book of 150 photographs of world leaders, all of them taken at the United Nations.
This collection is full of surprises and affirmations alike: Hugo Chávez has all the penetrability of an Easter Island statue; Victor Yushchenko could be a friendly school principal; and Muammar Qaddafi is a villain straight out of “Star Wars”. Securing the portraits required tenacity, quick reflexes and the wiles of a fixer. More Intelligent Life spoke with Platon, a staff photographer at the New Yorker, about his adventures in assembling his portraits.