When are big files are too big? Richard Armitage and the long-haired co-star

RichardArmitageNet.com has added a few really big, high resolution images lately. The first ones were lovely pics from the BAFTA 2010 red carpet, and at the time I thought about writing on my reaction to being able to look at Mr. Armitage’s complexion in much more detail than I have ever looked at that of a lover, and also being able to guess at the weave of the fabric in that fabulous suit.

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Richard Armitage at the 2010 BAFTA TV awards red carpet. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

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[at left: full size detail of Richard Armitage’s left eye from photo above. I’ve occasionally wondered whether he’d been tweezing the point of his eyebrow that intersects with the lateral frontalis while playing Lucas. Can’t answer that question without further comparison, however.]

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[At right: full size detail of Richard Armitage’s left jaw from photo above. So intense you can almost feel the scrape on your cheek.]

Bccmee made a great joke about playing a match of “count the stubble.” I was thinking maybe we could make this a game for charity somehow. Onepence donated for every whisker we could enumerate? It would definitely be a way to make the facial hair pay.

One thing that I appreciate about the BAFTA photos is that while they may have been edited, the editors weren’t retouching his skin and his eye lines. You may almost be able to see the brand of veneers on his teeth, but you can still see he’s not perfect and this adds to his appeal for me. I somehow like that better than the heavily retouched fashion photos (as much as I like those, too) that have obviously “fixed” the complexion on his forehead.

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Richard Armitage in June 2011 photoshoot for Recognise Magazine. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

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I mean, Mr. Armitage obviously devotes a lot of time to skin care, but I don’t care how good his regime is, he definitely had editorial help there.

So, in the stream of very large images, this is the most recent:

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Richard Armitage as John Bateman and Laila Rouass as Maya Lahan in a publicity still for Spooks 9. Do not hesitate to enlarge. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

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And, of course, I can’t keep myself from looking very, very closely. Lots of things to love about this unbelievably detailed image. For one thing, I like the angle on his torso much better — it makes him look a bit more like the vulnerable person that John Bateman is inside, behind the bravado and anger and rage.

Enlarging the picture also gives us access to all kinds of sweet detail. For example, his sweet ear (at right) and the ragged edge of the cheap haircuts he was having when he played Lucas. Or his sweet nose (below left).

Why, the resolution on these photos is so fine that you can even pick up the vellus hair on the bridge of his nose where it’s framed against Laila Rouass’s hair (below right).

There are some gorgeous illustrations of points I’ve made before in my anatomy series available, too. For instance, this wonderful lateral view of the structure around his supraorbital ridge gives us a particularly beautiful perspective on his pronounced inferior palpebral sulcus (below left). From this perspective, it makes his face seem even more childlike.

All of which brings up another wonder: the fodder that images like these offer us for anatomical diagramming! Because of these photos, I finally have an image of his pinna, or outer ear, that’s big enough for me to use it as an anatomy diagram. And isn’t it illuminating? Or perhaps I need a different adjective for ears, which are auditory rather than visual receptacles. What’s the auditory equivalent of illuminating? Ear-opening? Deafening? Something like that?

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All these photos are full size details of the photo above, from Spooks 9.

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[At left: Detail from publicity still above: John Bateman’s (Richard Armitage’s) chin and neck]

But actually, the point of this post was not to showcase all these beautiful details. Sorry. I got a little distracted there. It was talking a bit about a detail I saw that made me think of my own past and made the still seem more human. It’s a hair thing.

I was looking at his neck, and at first, I thought, hmmm, the shaving / waxing techniques missed a spot. It does look a bit like there’s some chest hair there, just above his sternum. But then I realized that there’s some awfully dark hair, there, and looked closer at Maya’s hair in the scene. She’s having a real static problem. So some of the hair clinging to his neck, based on length and color, might be hers.

Until the end of my first year in Germany I had really, really long hair (and my hair was really thick then, too). Most guys I had met until then preferred longer to shorter hair. And so this detail reminded me of one of those concrete moments of heterosexuality as we live it out — the guy who loves his girlfriend’s long hair, loves to touch it and stroke it, and look at it on her — and the price is, of course, that hair that length is to some extent uncontrollable, and it goes absolutely everywhere. Does he laugh as he pulls it out of his mouth? Or is he irritated when he finds it all over the bathroom floor, and the carpet?

And the beauty of the contrast. The smooth, luxuriant, uncontrollable hair of the woman, against the scrapy, shaven, disciplined hair of the man; the female long hair catching, tangling on the male stubble.

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So seeing the hair made the scene seem a little more human to me and thus more intense. It seems weird that it was left in, although we’ve seen other images of this scene that failed to remove important details. I assume the detail is still there because at the level of resolution at which these photos are usually reproduced, no one would notice it. (You can also see on the closeup of the tattoo a margin that seems to suggest it’s a transfer, for instance, but you have to look hard. Cough.) On the other hand, I assume that part of the reason to retouch as intensively as the fashion photos do is because the people producing the images are looking at the pictures very closely and intensively and see the “flaws.” And maybe, too, they’re aware that we’re looking ever more closely at the details of these images. And surely they know that because of synecdoche, our appreciation of a detail affects our appreciation of the whole. We can love a detail more than a picture. Which is the probably the case for most fans of Mr. Armitage who see this still.

And: how do you decide about which “flaw” is a distraction, and which is humanizing? It’s a conundrum.

No answer. But because I can’t help myself, I concede the primacy of the detail and leave you with another beautiful one of Mr. Armitage’s lips (above right).

~ by Servetus on June 12, 2012.

31 Responses to “When are big files are too big? Richard Armitage and the long-haired co-star”

  1. I’m glad you cant help yourself, nor can I.
    I adore these close up’s and your attention to detail. Bless that tiny bit of chest chair and so called “flaws” they maketh the man!

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  2. Hi Serv,
    Flaws in Richard Armitage’s countenance or person? What flaws? Ha ha ha! As you point out the crinkles, gray hairs, and other examples of his “age” and such are merely delightful evidence of him being human, ReAl, and not just a 2D photoeditor’s confection for our consumption. Sighhhhh!
    And I must say, that you showed admirable restraint in waiting to diagram RA’s ear area for us. But then you did so with a flourish. Brava!
    Cheers! Grati ;->

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  3. I also love the fact that we can see the way Richard’s hair grows at the nape of his neck! His hair grows over into a peak in middle as mine does and as my darling Lachlan’s does 🙂

    I almost feel like asking my daughter-in=law if she had an affair with Richard about 3 1/2 years ago! 😉 Lachlan ( 3 in August) is a real performer who loves to act,sing, dance, play the guitar and drums, etc 🙂 But then my Matthew (his Daddy) also has dark hair that grows slightly sideways at the nape, plays guitar, sings quite well (tenor) and has learned both ballroom dancing and fencing, so I’m pretty sure Lachlan really does belong to my family 🙂

    Thank you, Servetus, for producing these pics in a format that allows them to be enlarged so easily. And for your analysis.

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    • I haven’t written about his hair yet in any detail but I agree, his nape is very attractive here.

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  4. I need to take Richard to get his eyelashes darkened! Crazy that the makeup people didn’t think about dying his eyebrows and eyelashes often enough 😦

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    • Eyelash dying is dangerous and can lead to blindness, so I’d appreciate it if you *didn’t* do that. If he needs to darken his lashes he can use mascara, as he did for Guy of Gisborne.

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    • Oh, no, no eyelash or eyebrow dying! On some Lucas photos they have such beautiful ashen quality and blueish light that is usually used in Spooks photography contributes it with a silvery flow down his face I’m enchanted with! It also makes his face more vulnerable, a bit boyish or elfin. I do adore that light-dust on his eyelashes.

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  5. Love it,Servetus! Thanks!:)
    Poor fellow, this kind of photo must be the torture for him,I imagine.
    BTW..flaws?..what flaws? 😉

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  6. *Speechless* 😉

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  7. He does have the most beautiful skin. I’m surprised someone hasn’t snapped him up to do advertising for men’s moisturizer. That’s a missed marketing opportunity, think of all the women who would rush out to buy moisturizer just because RA is the spokesman

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    • possibly, although I wouldn’t buy a moisturizer for men. Although I also don’t moisturize. I’ve been lucky that way.

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  8. “Flaws” maketh the man. Or woman. A large nose? (my icon, Audrey Hepburn. Or, Meryl Streep has a DEFINITE nose. Wish I had. 😀 ) The “flaws” are what combine to form an individual and intriguing face. As well as all the anatomical facial muscles servetus has analysed and highlighted. Flawlesss can be bland and less expressive and interesting…Probably, Mr. Armitage would hold audience attention with a blander face, through his talent. But he uses all the facial (and body) features, both instinctively, and with experience of the visual effect.

    (Not necessary to add that masculine facial hair rather attracts me, is it? etc.)

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  9. Ewww! He’s got hair in his ears!!! LOL I only kidding and though I am not sure I want to see all his flaws, I can appreciate them.

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    • I learned while writing this post that several surfaces of the ears are usually an exception to the general patterns of appearance of vellus hair. This kind of thing is so instructive!

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  10. Re the hair at the base of his throat! If you check out this picture from RA net and enlarge it you’ll see there are quite a few “dark’ hairs there so I don’t believe these are necessarily Maya’s in the above pic.

    It is worth enlarging anyway, even without focusing on the chest hairs! 🙂

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    • Thanks for the comment, Teuchter. But I think if you look closely at the photo you’ll see that indeed her hairs are all over the place, and there are hairs extending to his chest that can’t be his unless his chest hairs are several inches long.

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  11. On Perou photoshot tery retouched his moles and wrinkles :/

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  12. *they

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  13. and chicken pox :/

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  14. […] Let’s continue to take a closer look at Mr. Armitage’s follicle placement. Here’s a frontal view of The Beard in spe from one of those huge photos: […]

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  15. […] [Referencing an earlier discussion about how high density photos sometimes show you think you aren't so interested i….] […]

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  16. hola soy fans de richard armitage no me importa los defectos fisicos, el es un actor muy bueno actua muy bien en diferente papel y lo felicito

    Like

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