Rare and exclusive portraits from the Senatorial Forum

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Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile posing for a portrait before the first CNN Philippines Senatorial Forum begins. Photo by JILSON TIU

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — You can tell so much about a person sitting down for a portrait, particularly if it’s someone in a position of power. Photographers who have made sessions with politicians and cultural movers have attested as much.

The New Yorker photographer Platon, who set up a small studio at the UN General Assembly to photograph 50 of the most powerful people in the world, has a few stories behind the scenes, such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying, “Platon, make me look good” or then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad giggling “like a little boy.”

In the tradition of the history-making portraits from the 2016 Vice Presidential debate of CNN Philippines, we also set up a portrait booth during the first CNN Philippines Senatorial Forum. The eight senatorial hopefuls had varied responses while posing in front of the camera for a proper photograph, which is quite a rare moment in the age of instant selfies.

There is so much that goes into a portrait of a person. There’s the stance, their body language, the lines on their faces, or even the way they respond to direction. And combined with the photographer’s approach to portraiture, a simple sit-down could capture a snapshot of history; an image that can be remembered for a long time.

Below are the results of the portrait sessions, just a few hours before each of them went onstage to appeal for the Senatorial Forum.

Gary Alejano. Photo by JL JAVIER

Bam Aquino. Photo by JL JAVIER

Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa. Photo by JL JAVIER

Chel Diokno. Photo by JL JAVIER

JV Ejercito. Photo by JL JAVIER

Juan Ponce Enrile. Photo by JL JAVIER

Serge Osmeña. Photo by JL JAVIER

Francis Tolentino. Photo by JL JAVIER