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Platon's Portraits Of Power

Very few people can get away with shouting "You look wicked!" at a world leader. On All Things Considered, host Michele Norris speaks with the renowned photographer Platon about his multimedia project "Portraits of Power," which appears in the Dec. 7 issue of The New Yorker.

  • Moammar Gadhafi, leader of the revolution, Libya, in office since Sept. 1, 1969
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    Moammar Gadhafi, leader of the revolution, Libya, in office since Sept. 1, 1969
    Platon/The New Yorker
  • Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, in office since Sept. 12, 2003
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    Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, in office since Sept. 12, 2003
    Platon/The New Yorker
  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, in office since Aug. 6, 2005
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    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, in office since Aug. 6, 2005
    Platon/The New Yorker
  • Gordon Brown, prime minister of the United Kingdom, in office since June 27, 2007
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    Gordon Brown, prime minister of the United Kingdom, in office since June 27, 2007
    Platon/The New Yorker
  • Cristina Fernandez, president of Argentina, in office since Dec. 10, 2007
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    Cristina Fernandez, president of Argentina, in office since Dec. 10, 2007
    Platon/The New Yorker
  • Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa, in office since May 9, 2009
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    Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa, in office since May 9, 2009
    Platon/The New Yorker

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The project began this past September, at a meeting of the United Nations in New York. Platon, a staff photographer for The New Yorker, and one of the best living portraitists, set up a studio off the floor of the General Assembly. Over the course of five hectic days, he did his best to wrangle some of the world's most powerful leaders for a portrait session, some lasting no longer than 8 seconds.

An interactive on The New Yorker's Web site has commentary from the photographer — with stories like how he got Hugo Chavez of Venezuela to sit for him, or how he got Jacob Zuma of South Africa to laugh. View all 50 photos and hear the stories in the full interactive.

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