Platon has photographed over 120 heads of state for Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire and GQ. His iconic shots of such notables as Vladimir Putin, Muammar Al-Gaddafi and Bill Clinton draw immediate global recognition and appreciation. Yet last month in Virginia, he told the Richmond Forum audience how frightened he was capturing actor Sir Anthony Hopkins on film.
It was one of Platon’s first assignments and he was sent to photograph Mr. Hopkins starring as Hannibal Lecter in the soon-to-be-released movie, Silence of the Lambs. Hopkins won the Academy Award that year for his portrayal of the cannibalistic villain.
Platon told the story as follows:
I was preparing the night before for my scheduled sitting with Anthony Hopkins. I was watching TV and heard on the news that Sir Anthony had beaten up the Vogue photographer who was sent to capture his image on film earlier that day.
Platon felt that did not bode well for his own assignment with Mr. Hopkins. He nervously set-up his equipment the following day at the appointed time.
Mr. Hopkins arrived and we did our introductions and began to set to work. I suddenly felt very nauseous, my legs and arms were shaking and I felt terrible. I truly thought I was having a heart attack, but I later discovered that it was a panic attack. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I might pass out at any moment.
I said, “I’ll be honest with you. I am not a photographer, I am an art student and you are my first job like this. And I am worried that I will be beat up like the Vogue photographer was yesterday.”
Mr. Hopkins then asked, “Listen, did it not occur to you that I’m scared too? I hate to have my picture taken”.
Then he remarked, “You have been honest with me and I appreciate it. We will make a picture together.”
Platon reported they then had a very successful engagement. This is another example when candor causes connection and can diffuse tension – even when it involves one of the best-known movie serial killers of all time.