*ooof*: Move over Darcy

Dear readers, I like to jump straight into my *ooofs*, but please forgive me if I precede the second *ooof* on me + Richard with a short message. I just wanted to say that I was quite overwhelmed by your kind reaction to my first post a week ago. Thank you for welcoming me so readily, for being open to discussion, for throwing in your opinions and for agreeing or disagreeing with me. It has been a huge encouragement for me and simultaneously challenges me and inspires me to continue. Let’s hope I can continue to entertain you with my ramblings. Again, if you have a favourite image, let me know – I would love to act on your preferences and favour you with an *ooof* of your choice.

Today’s *ooof* is from another slightly older shoot. Shot in 2006, it came from a series of images, one of which accompanied an article by Patricia Nicol entitled “Move over Darcy”, published on the cusp of Armitage’s return to the screen in a costume dramatization of Claude Monet’s life.  Unfortunately I have not found out who the photographer is.  Ali informs me that the photographer was Jude Edginton. All of the shoot finds my approval, but I have settled on this particular image from the series, because it is pretty *ooof*. It stirs my *beeeeeeeeeeep* with his sexy *beeeeeeeeeeeeep* and delectable *beeeeeeeeeeeep* *beeeeeeeeep*.

SundayTimes2006-03

Relaxed and informal, yet still smouldering:
Richard Armitage in a 2006 photoshoot
sourced on richardarmitagenet.com

Did I say last week that “our boy” does not appear with a smoulder when he is posing as himself? Well – wrong! Of course I fell for the glower again (Apologies to those of you who told me last week that you didn’t like the burning gaze on Armitage. It just hits me in the so-called feels every time and I am unable to resist…) and ditched the happy boy-next-door shots in favour of the sex attack. Interestingly, this was not the image that was chosen to accompany the article – despite it capitalising on Armitage’s capacity to burn the babes with his stare, hence the ditched Darcy in the article’s title. But there is more to the image than only the smoulder that makes my ovaries quiver in unrequited anticipation…

The whole series was shot in front of a shabby chic backdrop – if not a movie set, then some sort of half-derelict, once-grand house with fancy panelled walls and grand, but rickety furniture. And so Armitage in this particular image is leaning against a discoloured wall, cracks in the paintwork, holding on to an old and battered chair to his right. He is evidently sitting on the floor, noticeable because of his left leg pulled up. The photographer really knew about light in this shoot – he has created wonderfully atmospheric light in the image that befits not only his subject but also the context he has placed him in. In this case Armitage is illuminated from his right, giving the impression that this could be available light. (Available light is a term used by photographers to describe light coming from a source that has not been specifically and artificially set up by the photographer to illuminate a scene. The best available light there is, is the sun. But any pre-installed light fitting at a shoot, is covered by the term available light – whether they are tungsten bulbs, neon strip lighting or a candle that is sitting in a sconce.) However, I very much doubt we have available light in this shot – the few shadows that are visible lead me to think that the photographer set up a single flash on Armitage’s front right – and why would available light of this bright quality come from an angle this low down? Judging from the little bits of shadow visible under his shirt cuffs, I assume the photographer did not use a softbox but a single flash, possibly with a honeycomb to diffuse the light a little bit.

Due to the use of a reflector, light is being thrown back onto the left side of Armitage’s face, thus lighting up what would otherwise be hidden in shadow. Cleverly or possibly coincidentally, the reflected light does not quite reach into the corner of his left eye, and so a little bit of shadow remains – and both matches and adds to the gaze of the subject beautifully: Even though the photo is taken dead-pan with the photographer obviously on his knees to bring the camera down to the same level as Armitage’s head, our subject has angled his face ever so slightly downwards. Bringing the forehead down only that tiny bit, evokes an impression of strength, of predatory forewardness. It is a signal we decode almost subconsciously and that we allude to in the phrase “to take something head-on” – almost as if using the forehead as a battering ram, the gesture shows confidence in one’s own strength and ability to succeed. Coupled with the smoulder, it takes on an erotic association of sexual conquest. The fact that the aforementioned trace of a shadow is still on Armitage’s left eye only adds to the mystery and hint of danger that is conveyed in the angle of the face: Not being able to see both eyes leaves the viewer wondering whether there is more going on than what we can see, whether the sitter is hiding something. And yes, we are attracted by mystery – and simultaneously frightened by it.

Armitage’s pose further adds to the perceived eroticism of the image. Similarly as in last week’s David Venni shot, he again has brought up a hand behind his head, opening his chest to the viewer’s gaze. But moreover, here he is also sitting open-legged, exposing an even more vulnerable spot to the viewer. Sadly/luckily (take your pick) we do not get a full view of his crotch *excusemewhileIblush*. Not only has the photograph been cropped in such a way that it cuts shortly below the waistline *ouch*, but the crotch is hidden in dark shadow. This is a particularly clever device – making something even more conspicuous by its absence, contrasting the “unseen” (the lap in shadow) versus the unsuppressable imagination (I leave you to insert here whatever you feel comfortable imagining *grins*). With an army of women as the addressees of the article that will potentially be accompanied by this shot, this becomes a potent pose, if you pardon the pun, allowing us to imagine, to wonder, to dream, to respond and to succumb to the unspoken prompt that is in the subject’s gaze.

Altogether, the photographer has composed an image that gives the impression of showing us Armitage en privé , a relaxed Armitage sitting on the ground, resting in an informal setting where he is free to look and act as he likes. Even if Armitage is not one for the smoulder shots – he has a penchant for the informal shot where he can leave his hands in his trouser pockets, smile boyishly or slouch informally – he comes across much more “real” in this shot than in the fashion spreads – even the recent fashion shots where he had supposedly gained more world knowledge and was better able to deal with the “trauma” of being photographed. There are hints of irony in his smiling eyes here, something self-consciously amused in the pout of his lips, belying his self-depreciating consciousness of performing to an image that has been created for Smouldermaster Armitage. He is doing it very well, though. I can get lost in images like this, overlaying Richard Armitage with the roles of dominant, alpha males he has so successfully played. I see Mr Thornton in the angle of his head, Lee in the unself-conscious open legs, John Mulligan in the straight-on stare. He has created another foil in this image – one that he is offering me and you to imagine him as we want him to be. I gratefully accept and go back dreaming. Thanks, Mr Armitage.

All text © Guylty at me + richard armitage, 2012. Please credit when using excerpts and links. Images and video copyrights accrue to their owners.

~ by Guylty on November 22, 2012.

46 Responses to “*ooof*: Move over Darcy”

  1. Great analysis. This one is a favorite of mine, I’d love your take on it:

    http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/2006%20SundayTimesPromo/album/slides/SundayTimes2006-09.html

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  2. Lovely analysis of a compelling subject. Yeah, gets me in the solar plexus and elsewhere…

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  3. Beautiful picture, great post. I’m fine with his smolder here precisely because of the semi-smile – like he does not take either himself or the situation too seriously. I also love the color combination of the shirt and jeans, it’s great with darkened hair. And the relaxed elegant hand… and then he is just ridiculously handsome here.

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    • “Ridiculously handsome” indeed. Six years ago and I do think he looks a bit younger in that shoot than in the more current stuff. Despite the smoulder, I think he’s a bit of a puppy here. – Yeah, the colours in this are interesting, too. I had a bit written about that but threw it out, didn’t want to ramble on too long 😉 Thanks for commenting!

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      • let’s talk about color. He doesn’t wear this shade of green very often — but it’s fantastic when it comes out in his eyes when he’s wearing the woodland fatigues.

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        • In truth, Servetus, it completely throws me when he wears colours. To this day I cannot really make out what colour his eyes are – they seem to change with the clothes he wears. I mean, I know he’s supposed to have blue eyes, but I have been convinced so often that they were grey, green, even brown. Magic?!
          Personally, I am one of those predictable “artsy-fartsy” types who only wears black – hence I love the way Armitage has that black thing going on. Having said that, I think he looks very well in dark colours like dark blue, dark purple. I do not think burgundy and dark green really complement him, but maybe that is just me. White shirts are tolerable, but strong colours – not a fan…
          From a photographic point of view colours are ok – as long as they compliment the background/location, I suppose.

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          • The eyes that are blue but change colour according to surroundings are not “magic” but a genetic trait that tends to occur in people from the north of England and Scotland. My daughter has eyes like that. In most full-spectrum light, when she wears black or blue, her true dark blue irises with gold flecks show. At other times, her eyes appear green, gray, even hazel. Her greatgrandmother also had eyes like that.

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            • Like Richard, my daughter wears mostly black and it suits her, but so does dark blue. Other colours work, but only if they have enough blue in them.

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              • That’s really interesting, Leigh, I did not know that there was a regionally limited genetic disposition towards this kind of eye-effect!

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                • It will show up elsewhere, but if you go back a couple of generations, or sometimes only one, guess what? And if you get a couple of grandparents from northern England or Scotland, it’s even more likely. My daughter’s case it was both her maternal great-grandmother and her paternal grandmother (who was painted with brown eyes, but photographed as blue).

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  4. The photographer of that Sunday Times shoot is Jude Edgington. I bought that copy of The Sunday Times and clearly remember reading that article back in 2006 and being struck by the photo on the cover and that one you have posted. They are still firm favourites. As a result of that article, I was persuaded to watch The Impressionists and then buy the North and South DVD…the rest is history.

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    • Ali – thanks for that information. It really worries and annoys me when I cannot name the photographer of a shot that I am reviewing. I know it is going to annoy the subscribers, but I am going to have to put that info into the post now. Anyhow, thank you very much!!! And thanks for relating how the photos actually played a part in convincing you to keep following Armitage’s career.

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      • I completely understand and I realise the photographer’s name should be in the gallery – I’ll do that now.

        Thank you Leigh, happy thanksgiving!

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        • OMC, Ali! You are *that* Ali???!!! Jeepers, please don’t think I was trying to smugly criticize you for omitting the photographer’s name! You have no idea how eternally grateful I am for what you do on RAnet!!! Your site is my favourite resource, as you can see!!! Apologies for having sounded patronizing!

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          • You didn’t sound patronising at all, please don’t worry about that. I’m always striving to make improvements to the site and I like to put as much info on there as I can, so it was just a comment that I wanted to add the photographer’s name, that’s all 🙂
            Thanks for linking to the site, it’s very much appreciated.

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            • You never know who’s reading here, do you? 🙂

              Part of why I never look at the analytics very closely.

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              • Teeheehee, yes, Servetus, it is almost scary to think *who* could be reading this… Nah, just kidding.
                In any case, I am indebted to you, Ali, for supplying us with all that info and all the articles and images. Crediting/linking to you is the least I can do – and a bit of an academic routine that I got into…

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      • Sorry it’s Edginton not Edgington. I read the credit from the Sunday Times article, but after googling his site I see the newspaper got the spelling wrong.

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    • Ali, we are so very glad you bought that paper and fell for RA. It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S. today and yes, I’m thankful for all you do.

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  5. For the benefit of those who are not on Tumblr, I am copying the answer I gave you over there:

    My dear friend: Thank you for choosing this picture. The only thing I “hate” about it is that his right hand looks GINORMOUS and it freaks me out a little. I prefer this shot, which I used on my RP Standring story, because he is smiling. Also, his hands are positioned in the right places, and you can see his feet! What can I say? I want to see all of him. *cough* 😉

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    • Hey B!!! *waves* Yup, the right hand is out of proportion. That’s due to the angle of the lens. It’s not quite wide-angle, but probably shot slightly too close…
      The shot you linked – nice, of course. He is just very slightly too goofy-smiley to be truly *ooof* in that, for my taste. Very sweet, but not quite hot enough for the much quoted “solarplexus punch”, if you know what I mean…

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    • The hand is one of two aspects of the photo (in addition to the shadowed groin) that I find really intriguing. He has a particular way of holding his hands that is open but also somehow slightly tense.

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  6. […] [I haven't had a chance to look yet, but looks like discussion is going on strong at Guylty's post, a new *ooof*, just below. Check it out!] […]

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  7. So that’s why this series makes me happy. Oh, so happy.

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    • it’s always good to know why — that’s my motto!

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      • I am glad someone has the wherewithal to examine this in detail. Because I am still sitting here with my jaw in perpetual drop mode. Of course, I am new at this but willing to learn. And I love asking why!

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        • Glad you are finding this interesting, Janine. Please do ask why! I find it endlessly interesting to examine photographs – and even more so when my favourite actor is in it…

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  8. I love this set of photographs, I feel that photographer got the real him. There are some dreadful ones, like the ones you mentioned in your first post that somehow make a gorgeous looking man look shifty. I am really enjoying your posts xxx

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  9. A quick note that this is the photoshott that got Amanda Jane to writing fanfic, not this photo, but one from this sequence. Here’s the link to her interview:

    https://meandrichard.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/fan-showcase-amanda-jane/

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  10. I loved this and I am absolutely d’accord about the shadow over his groin being in tension with what could be a very provocative pose (the widely splayed legs). There’s also something really boyish about it — like he’s at one of those parties that goes into extra innings and the guests end up sitting on the floor, passing around bottles and talking about everything (and I’d add, smoking, except I know that that will make me unpopular).

    Two other things:

    1) I’d like to hear about the left hand. This is essentially the gesture comparable to the one you took apart last time. Here it seems a bit, hmmm. Not sure what, but this looks a bit too posed for me.

    2) the way the cut of jeans flare across his left leg. (obviously 2006 was a year when those flares were still in style) — there’s an interesting interlocking triangle architecture across the left side of his body. Elbow makes a triangle with his head, knee with his elbow, and then implied triangle in the bend of his left leg. I like these architectural poses a lot.

    But I still love the smile more. 🙂

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  11. Wow you picked another favourite of mine to analyse Guylty! I love everything about this photo, the smoulder, the pose, the haircut, the jeans, the shirt, the colours, the background, AND his right hand- OK it’s out of proportion- but isn’t it just a beautiful hand?? I’m absolutely mesmerised by it! Thank you for the great post, can’t wait for the next ooof (or anti- ooof 😉 )! And thank you to Mummy and Daddy Armitage and God for creating this incredibly stunning creature. 🙂

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    • We’re obviously on the same page when it comes to *ooof*y RA pics, Judit 🙂 However, I must admit that I am probably too besotted with the man to dislike any picture that he is in – and all to readily forgive any photographic mishaps. Such as the distorted hand. After all, it makes his beautiful hands stand out more, so what’s not to like? Yeah, the Armitage elders did a good job 😉

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  12. […] I don’t call attention to old posts on this blog here, but Guylty posted her *ooof* this Wednesday, just before Thanksgiving started, and then it got buried in the flood of stuff published the last […]

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