Platon's portraits are simple.
But, using that simplicity the world-renowned photographer can capture complexity of a world leader's icy stare, like that of Russian President Vladimir Putin. A flick of a finger or movement of an eyebrow can reveal a person's true character, Platon explained before speaking as part of the Ringling Town Hall Lecture Series Tuesday.
"I'm not really a photographer at all," Platon said. "I'm a story teller."
As the son of a modernist architect, Platon said he was always drawn to minimalism — stripping away the environment helps him focus on his subject.
"Those posters on the wall to me (are) just visual anarchy," Platon said while pointing out some colorful artwork in the basement of the Van Wezel.
Something as simple as a handshake can be revealing, as well. Platon described former Pres. Bill Clinton's handshake as "seduction incorporated," while Pres. Barack Obama's drawn out handshake shows how he wants those around him to feel comfortable.
"It's like landing the most beautiful airplane on the planet," Platon said of Obama's handshake.
The outgoing Platon discussed global politics, art and his future with a wealth of quotes worthy of noting:
+ On photographing Putin: "It was cold — I felt I was in a fridge."
+ On his artistic style: "I'm a cultural provocateur, too. I like to push buttons."
+ On connecting with his subjects: "I have the street smarts and I read people from the hip."
+ On his simplistic style: "I don't really care about the gimmicks of photography— it's really boring to me."