Platon Antoniou’s portraits of world leaders and other power figures of modern times will be exhibited at the renowned photo gallery of Vienna, Westlicht, until April 22.
With his new photography exhibition “The Faces of Power” inaugurated on February 23, the famous Greek-born artist presents 50 out of the total 120 portraits of heads of state and governments mostly shot during the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2009 in New York.
Several of Antoniou’s models have since lost their offices and power, like former Italian PM Silvio Berlouskoni, or even their lives, like the Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi or the Polish president Lech Kaczyński.
The idea for this photo project on “power” was born in 2006, but numerous bureaucratic problems needed to be overcome and 67 negotiation talks took place before the much-awaited permit license was issued by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.
Platon Antoniou has been a permanent photographer for the New Yorker for many years. Through this exhibition he wanted to show to audiences up close what the real face of power is like, as he explained.
All portraits are very expressive, have a language of their own and although the analog shooting makes them look alike, the faces are totally different when the photographic lens focuses on them. Most portraits are black and white and show every single detail of the depicted faces. There are, however, a few exceptions of colored portraits, such as the one belonging to the former British PM, Tony Blair, whose dark blue eyes seem to glow.
The Vienna exhibition venue is displaying the portraits based on their continent of origin.
Born in London in 1968 to a Greek father and English mother, Platon Antoniou moved to Greece at an early age, where he lived on different Greek islands. At the age of seven, his family returned to London, where he studied in the top British schools for fine arts and was distinguished with many awards. Later on he moved to New York, where he still lives and works to date.
Some of his first works had been issued by top international magazines, including Vogue, Vanity Fair and Time, while his 2007 photo shooting of the Russian PM Vladimir Putin covered the front page of Time and won him the international prize for journalistic photo.