(Photo courtesy PopTech)
(Photo courtesy PopTech)
British photographer Platon famously went through back channels and followed a cryptic message to a small Russian hotel room and waited for a knock on the door that he hoped would be Edward Snowden, not armed thugs. It was Snowden. On another trip, Platon was escorted through a ring of sniper-guards to meet and photograph Putin. Nervously, he started by talking about the Beatles in order to get close enough to capture Putin’s ice-blue gaze. 

“Show me the love,” Platon told then-President Bill Clinton. Clinton gave him the famous smile that turned into a career-making cover for Esquire. Eight years ago, Republican Colin Powell said a Platon photograph made him change his vote and publicly express his support for Obama as president.

Increasingly seeing photography as a tool of social change, Platon started a non-profit, The People’s Portfolio, in 2013 to use images to break down cultural barriers and promote social justice.