A lesson on simplicity in photography delivered directly from the mouth of the brilliant portrait photographer Platon
The first time I remember seeing a photograph by British / Greek photographer Platon, it was his famous black and white portrait of Willie Nelson hugging his guitar, I believe it was on the cover of Texas Monthly. The raw but refined starkness and beauty of that portrait took my breath away.
I recently discovered this video about Platon from Netflix, and sat for nearly 45 minutes totally transfixed as Platon reveals his working methods, his background, and his philosophies.
As someone who constantly struggles to find simplicity, and an almost minimalist focus in my own work, I was taken by what Platon said about the topic of simplicity in his photography.
Platon’s advice for finding simplicity in a photographic composition
My father used to do these beautiful drawings in pen and ink.— Quoted from Abstract: The Art of Design | Platon: Photography on Netflix
And I grew up with this sort of black and white aesthetic in my head.
It was so bold.
I spent most of my adult life in the dark, with a small red light on,
trying to find that visual language.
[Pointing to one of his father’s drawings] If it’s necessary, it’s in there.
If it’s not necessary, it’s not there.
So, strip it down, simplify it.
Just go . . . for the core.
Skip ahead to 11:39 to see the quote, but be sure to watch the entire video. It’s full of golden nuggets.
Books by Platon available on Amazon
Thanks for reading.
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