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The Histrionics George Platt

As an on-going portraiture project, ‘The Histrionics’ examines the pervading atmosphere of artificiality present throughout both theatrical productions and modern-day government politics. In current day society; actors and politicians seemingly share increasingly similar occupations in the eyes of the public. Whilst this may be oftentimes regarded in a negative light, one must ask what politics would be like without this effectual use of affectation to achieve authoritative and coherent conveyance of political ideologies. Late in the summer of 2011 I found myself working alongside Alastair Muir in London photographing theatrical productions throughout the city. He helped me to understand some small parts about the profession and industry. I particularly found the welldesigned sets a joy to photograph, and I believe that this is the point when I first took an increased interest in staged photo-shoots with professional actors, props and well-designed backdrops. But it was working alongside another professional photographer, Bob Fallon, where I got my inspiration for this project. We spent our time photographing political conferences during the Conservative meet up in Manchester 2011 and during this time I noticed more and more how reminiscent the way the politicians acted were to the way the

actors in London performed in front of the camera. I mentioned this to Bob and he was quick to confirm my observations. Both professions shared similarities I had not noticed until then. I make no exaggerations by stating that the process in creating this book, for me, was indeed a journey - and my destination, for the time being, has been reached. Like with many things, I found myself with idealistic views about the way in which politics is handled. At first I thought that the tendency, or more accurately; the need, to act, to play a part, was a failing on the behalf of politics and politicians. I believed that their behavioural affectations betrayed their insincerity, and perhaps I still do in some small way, but now I see that what they did (and still do) is a necessary means to an end. It is a means of emphasising coherent communication, and without it then it is safe to assume that the politicians themselves would prove to be far more ineffective than the public already label them. How they act in front of a camera is similar to the way in which we as a people interact with one another. Facial expressions, intonation and overall body language are a natural part of being human, and it is only understandable that such human aspects creep their way up into even the upper echelons of the government for something as basic and vanity.

Chapter 1

This consists of my initial work done in both London and Manchester, these photographs show when I first started to notice the visual similarities between a performing actor and a politician. The photographs themselves were yet to be a part of a coherent style, but the intent was for some of the images to echo one another. Histrionic personality disorder is characterised by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attentionseeking, including an excessive need for approval and inappropriately seductive behaviour

Chapter 2

This was conceived when my strong dislike of political falsehoods took a hold of my work. I was angry, and I believe that was evident from looking at my work. The chapter consists of the photographs I first started taking in a studio room. The images themselves worked out well enough, and I found that they reflected my recently arisen distaste for affectations and disingenuousness of modern-day politics. Although at the time I felt that I needed to expand further on the idea as well as make the scenes far more elaborate in terms of design and composition.

Chapter 3

This was the result of my eventual understanding of affectation in politics being akin to those present in acting and theatrical productions. I began to see the reasoning behind the apparent pomp and false pretences of politics. Paul Shambroom, an American photographer was the origin of the source of my inspiration for the third chapter and final of this book. His work in ‘Meetings’ encouraged me to look at renaissance art and portraiture, and from it I found the style I was searching for. Histrionic: He was always histrionic in the way he told his stories; he often utilized the effectual of the theatrical to captivate his audience.

Photography by George Platt Designed by

The Histrionics  

A book of photographs taken by George Platt