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What a Portrait Should Be: Behind the Scenes with Edward Snowden

Dispatched to Moscow, famed portrait photographer Platon captured a never-before-seen side of Edward Snowden for WIRED. In this riveting montage, the elusive whistleblower explains the thinking behind his decision to reveal the extent of domestic surveillance being conducted by US intelligence services.


When it comes to portrait photography, your camera, your light, your years of photographic know-how counts for little if you don’t have a subject with substance.  The power of a portrait is in the people.  Do you reveal their essence?  Do you tell their story?

Choosing a subject with substance was not a problem for Wired Magazine but for journalist James Bamford and photographer Platon finding him was.

It took almost a year to arrange to interview and photograph Edward Snowden in Moscow, where he has sought asylum.


In 2013 Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, leaked a number of classified documents to various media outlets, exposing the US government for what some would call crimes against the people.  Since then Snowden has been the most wanted man in the world as authorities try to bring him to “justice”.


My name is Ed Snowden.  I use to work for the government and now I work for the public.

Producer: Editor in Chief – Scott Dadich

Creative Director: Billy Sorrentino

Director of Photography: Patrick Witty

Photographer: Platon

Editor: Sowjanya Kudva

Composer: Julia Kent

To learn more about the decoded files of the NSA and what they mean for you click here.

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