Netflix's Abstract and the Power of Photography


You’re looking for a moment when you feel you’re as close to the soul as possible. That’s what good design is, when it liberates you, and it allows you to do that, to help you feel something very powerful.
— Platon

Who would've thought binge-watching Netflix on a Saturday night could produce enough dopamine and creativity for me to write a blog post at the late hour of 10PM? But that's what happened after watching two episodes of Netflix's new documentary series, Abstract.

Especially inspiring was the episode documenting the illustrious photographer and storyteller - Platon. It struck a chord that reinvigorated my creative juices because his portraits evoke such strong emotions that you feel like you are right there in the studio with them. What's especially powerful is his sense of purpose in his photographic starting with empathy, he's able to put himself adjacent with the subject's soul as a means to build a bridge to connect the world.

I truly believe in the power of photography. 1/500th of a second has the power to induce empathy in people to break down preconceived stereotypes. The camera acts as a bridge to turn strangers into friends. And it's because of my own personal experiences that I can truly confirm the power of photography.

Many times in my life, I was invited into a stranger's life simply by having a camera dangling from my neck. From rural Africa to exotic Asia, the camera was my best friend when I had none. It was the friend that introduced me to new friends in new territories. It gave me the confidence to break out of my shell to allow a stranger from a foreign land into my own personal comfort zone and through that, it changed my entire perspective on life.

In an age of excessive selfies and Photoshop, one cannot forget that a true picture remains one of the most powerful forms of design, one that still holds the enormous power to change the world.